ByteDance would prefer to shut down TikTok than sell it to a US company if it runs out of legal options to prevent lawmakers from banning the platform, according to Reuters, citing four sources.

The algorithms TikTok relies on for its platform to run are integral to ByteDance’s overall operations, according to the sources, making the prospect of a sale extremely unlikely. 

ByteDance would rather close the application in the US than sell it to a potential buyer, as TikTok accounts for a small percentage of ByteDance’s overall revenue, the sources said. 

According to the sources, the shutdown would have a limited impact on ByteDance’s business and, more importantly, the company would not have to give up its algorithm.

ByteDance has vowed to fight back against the US bill, which was signed into law by President Joe Biden on Wednesday (24 April).

According to a leaked internal memo reported by the Information, Michael Beckerman, head of public policy for the Americas and TikTok vice-president, told TikTok staff: “At the stage that the bill is signed, we will move to the courts for a legal challenge.

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“We will continue to fight, as this legislation is a clear violation of the First Amendment rights of the 170 million Americans on TikTok.”

On Sunday (April 22), a TikTok spokesperson stated that a US-wide ban of the application would “trample” on free speech.

“It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans,” TikTok spokesperson Alex Haurek said.