Numerous digital companies guard their algorithms like a fabled secret. This is especially true of social networks. Bytedance is now breaking with this tradition. The tech company is now offering its Tik-Tok algorithm for sale.

Algorithms are considered an essential part of the success concept of social networks. It is therefore hardly surprising that the platforms keep them a well-kept secret.

The Tik-Tok algorithm, for example, is a big part of what has made the social network so famous. It guides the behavior of users and decides to whom content is displayed.

These recommendations, in turn, are based on individual interactions – including the content a user shares, comments on, and likes. Device and account settings such as language and location also play a role.

It is precisely this recommendation algorithm and the successful Tik Tok concept that Bytedance is now offering for sale.

Byteplus markets the Tik Tok algorithm

Bytedance has founded a separate division to market the Tik Tok algorithm: Byteplus. According to the information on its website, its customers already include the U.S. fashion app Goat, the travel provider Wego, the Indonesian shopping app Chilibeli and the gaming platform Games App.

According to reports, Byteplus offers its customers the ability to access the algorithm and personalize it for their apps and users. Its offerings also include automated language and text translation, real-time video effects, and data analysis tools.

Due to its opaque policies as well as privacy deficiencies, Tik Tok has been the subject of repeated criticism in the recent past. Therefore, the parent company Bytedance has already opened a Transparency Center in 2020, where external experts can gain insight behind the scenes.

In addition, Tik Tok has since roughly explained on its website how its algorithm works. With Byteplus, the tech company is now going one step further. But what does this mean for the future and what impact will it have on the competition?

Algorithms as a service: a new business model?

Byteplus could help establish algorithms as a service and make AI accessible to a broad mass. Such a business model could help numerous companies to become more efficient and ensure greater transparency.

Experts have been talking about AI as a service in this context for several years. Microsoft, Google and Amazon in particular could be the main players in further development and realize such a business model.

Thus, a completely new service and infrastructure around algorithms and AI could emerge in the near future. From development and process automation to marketing, analysis and maintenance.

For Bytedance and Tik Tok, this is already opening up a completely new and lucrative source of income. It will be exciting to see how the competition deals with the advance of the Chinese group. After all, numerous companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have themselves been fuelling the secrecy surrounding their algorithms for years.