TikTok is preparing a second version of its algorithm code for its 170 million users in the United States, reports Reuters. According to multiple sources who spoke to the agency, the work on splitting the code began late last year, predating the Congress-approved bill that wants ByteDance to sell its business in the United States or be banned from the country.

The social media owner initially declined to comment, but later, a statement was posted on X, saying the story was “misleading and factually inaccurate” without providing further info on what exactly is inaccurate.

Reuters: TikTok is splitting its algorithm code to appease the US

The report claimed hundreds of ByteDance and TikTok engineers both in the United States and China were ordered to begin separating “millions of lines of code”. The goal is to create a separate code base that is independent of systems used by Douyin – TikTok’s twin platform in China.

The complexity of the task was described as tedious “dirty work”, and it might take over a year to complete. Each line of code has to be reviewed to determine if it can go into the US code base, complying with the legal requirements.

Reuters: TikTok is splitting its algorithm code to appease the US

Once this project is completed, TikTok US will run and maintain its recommendation algorithm independently of TikTok apps in other regions. However, the company is aware that the platform might not be able to deliver the same level of performance, as it is currently relying on ByteDance engineers in China to update and maintain the code base to maximize user engagement.

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