Artificial Intelligence fuels TikTok’s popularity; but could that very asset prevent its sale? | Lexology

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In a few weeks, TikTok’s parent company ByteDance will have to either complete the sale of TikTok’s US operations to an American company (contenders have included Microsoft, Wal-Mart and Oracle, with Oracle the current favourite), or be banned from the U.S. market. The U.S. government has cited national security concerns as the basis for the required U.S. operations sale. However, after the Chinese government recently passed regulations designed to prevent TikTok’s technology from being transferred to a buyer outside of China without explicit permission, it is clear that the technology underlying TikTok’s success is a key part of the equation.
How TikTok Works
TikTok has become increasingly popular with millennials and teenagers the world over, and features short-form videos that allow users who watch and engage with content they like, while skipping what they don’t, to “find an endless stream of short videos that feel personalized just for you”.[1] It relies heavily on Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help users maximize their engagement with content, by using a recommendation engine for each unique user (also known as the “For You” algorithm) that consists of three key parts: the algorithm itself, a model that …

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