Trump’s TikTok deal has hit a serious roadblock

New concerns over the algorithm that powers the For You

Curated via Twitter from The Verge’s twitter account….

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, he seemed to disregard the November 12th deadline set by his executive order and emphasized the legally dicey idea that the US Treasury should receive payment as part of the deal. “I told them they have until Sept. 15 to make a deal — after that we close it up in this country,” Trump said. “I said the United States has to be compensated, well compensated.

It’s still possible that the bidders will find a way through the jungle and fashion some sort of deal to forge a US-centered version of the TikTok network, but the app could emerge from that process as a shell of its former self.

A string of reports from Reuters, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal describes a growing stalemate over the algorithm behind TikTok’s For You page, arguably the most important piece of software the company has.

We don’t know exactly how China will interpret that clause, but the assumption from most observers is that the government will block the sale of the algorithm, presenting a huge problem for any potential deal.

That algorithm has become a sticking point between the US and China, and what happens to that algorithm now seems like the central issue for any possible deal.

The new export controls mean that any recommendation algorithm — like the one that powers TikTok’s For You page — will need government approval before it can be sold to a foreign company.

You could buy the company without the algorithm (doesn’t seem great), you could convince China to let you have the algorithm (doesn’t seem likely), or you could kick the can down the road with a three-year transition period (doesn’t seem like it solves the problem).

It’s also possible that we’ll reach the deadline without a deal, and Trump will make good on his threat to “close it up,” with all of the legal problems that suggests.

The details of the acquisition are still in flux, but it is estimated to be worth around $30 billion, and Microsoft has committed to either finalizing or dropping the deal by September 15th. “I told them they have until Sept.

It’s also possible, even likely, that Trump is bluffing, and he’ll make a quiet tactical retreat once the deadline hits, unwilling to press the issue so close to the election.

On Friday, China quietly added personalized content recommendation algorithms to its list of export-controlled items, throwing the deal into chaos.

The For You page is the heart of TikTok’s appeal; it’s the product that lets you scroll for hours and still find new and interesting content.

Link to original article….

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