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ByteDance Denies Plans To Sell TikTok Amid US Ban Threats

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, has denied plans to sell the app despite US legislation threatening a ban.

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TikTok Faces Ban In US Photo: Getty Images

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of the wildly popular social media platform TikTok, has officially stated that it has no intentions of selling the app despite mounting pressure from the United States government. This announcement comes in response to recent legislation signed by President Joe Biden, which could potentially lead to a nationwide ban of TikTok.

In a statement released on Thursday via Toutiao, a news aggregation app owned by ByteDance, the company refuted foreign media reports suggesting that it was exploring the sale of TikTok. The Beijing-based tech giant emphasized, "ByteDance doesn’t have any plan to sell TikTok."

This response directly addresses an article by The Information, which claimed that ByteDance was considering selling TikTok's US business without including the algorithm that recommends videos to users. ByteDance attached screenshots of The Information's report, citing sources familiar with the matter.

ByteDance's decision to speak out comes after weeks of silence regarding US legislation aimed at forcing the sale of TikTok's operations in the country. The bill passed as part of a broader foreign aid package, represents a significant threat to TikTok's presence in the US, its largest market boasting 170 million users.

TikTok's CEO, Shou Chew, affirmed the company's determination to contest the ban through legal channels. In a video shared on the app, Chew reassured users, stating, "Rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere."

The Chinese government has also expressed staunch opposition to the forced sale of TikTok, asserting its legal authority to intervene in ByteDance's business dealings. China views TikTok's technology, particularly its algorithms, as strategically valuable and has implemented measures to safeguard against any potential sale that could undermine its interests.

US lawmakers have long harboured concerns over TikTok's ties to China, fearing data privacy breaches and potential manipulation of content. However, evidence supporting these concerns remains limited. Nonetheless, ByteDance, as a Chinese company, is subject to stringent national security laws, including China's National Intelligence Law, which mandates cooperation with national intelligence efforts.

Several countries, including India, have already implemented bans on TikTok, citing similar national security concerns. The US legislation represents one of the most comprehensive measures taken to date in response to these apprehensions.