Oracle Will Gain Full Access to TikTok's Source Code: Bloomberg

Rebbeca Ren

posted on September 16, 2020 5:34 am

Oracle will gain full access to TikTok's source code and updates, not just house the viral short video app's data inside its cloud servers, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the deal.

According to the report, the database software company will be able to check all source code from the algorithms that decide which videos get shown to which users to ensure there are no back doors and will be able to continue to review the technology as updates come in to make sure there are no new points of access.

Prior to this, ByteDance, parent of TikTok, proposed to put the global business of the short video app in a new and standalone US-headquartered company. 

Under the agreement, Oracle will serve as not only a technology partner but also a minority shareholder. The Chinese company will keep TikTok's recommendation algorithm, while the viral short video app's data will be “processed independently by Oracle".

The standalone company would also be supervised by a third party, which will report to the US government and provide continuous audits, reports, and protocols to deal with any incidents that may occur, the latest report said.

The proposal is in stark contrast to the original outlines of a deal requested by the US President Donald Trump, which required ByteDance to sever ties with the app in the US and agree to an outright sale of the US operations.

Currently, some lawmakers are questioning how any deal in which ByteDance remains the majority owner of the app and retains control over TikTok.

A group of Republican senators wrote to the Trump administration on Wednesday, outlining their opposition to the deal, which would allow ByteDance to maintain majority ownership of TikTok, despite the president asking the video app to cut ties with China.

The Trump administration issued an executive order on August 6 prohibiting American companies from conducting business with ByteDance over fears the Chinese company would threaten the security of US users’ private information. The president also required that TikTok's US business must be sold to an American company before September 20, or it will be banned.

Up to now, the US is still undertaking a two-track national security review of Oracle’s TikTok proposal this week and any sale still requires sign-offs from both the US and China. One is through CFIUS and a separate one is through the Commerce Department.