TikTok files lawsuit against the Trump administration over ban

TikTok (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • TikTok today sued the U.S. government over its incoming ban.
  • The company argued that the executive order was carried out without due process.
  • It also said that the national security concerns cited as the reason for the ban were unfounded and not backed up by evidence.

TikTok today filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its executive order that stipulates the company must either be sold or banned.

In a press release announcing the suit, TikTok said:

We strongly disagree with the Administration's position that TikTok is a national security threat and we have articulated these objections previously.Now is the time for us to act. We do not take suing the government lightly, however we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights, and the rights of our community and employees.

TikTok argues that the U.S. national security complaints are without merit, noting that it has "taken extraordinary measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok's U.S. user data, including by having TikTok store such data outside of China (in the United States and Singapore) and by erecting software barriers that help ensure that TikTok stores its U.S. user data separately from the user data of other ByteDance products." The company also alleges that the U.S. government has not made any serious effort to engage with the evidence it has presented showing all these safeguards.

Bringing up its dealings with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States which led to the body stating that it had "identified national security risks arising from the Transaction and that it has not identified mitigation measures that would address those risks," TikTok counters that despite "repeated efforts and concrete proposals to alleviate any national security concerns, the agency record reflects that CFIUS repeatedly refused to engage with ByteDance and its counsel about CFIUS's concerns."

As for the executive order itself, TikTok argues that it was rushed out without due process and denied the company the ability to defend itself from the charges laid out against it.

The company also notes that it is run by Americans based geographically in America, and thus is subject to U.S. and not Chinese law. It says it has done this as a way to "demonstrate its commitment to serving the U.S. market."

The blog post continues:

To be clear, we far prefer constructive dialogue over litigation. But with the Executive Order threatening to bring a ban on our US operations – eliminating the creation of 10,000 American jobs and irreparably harming the millions of Americans who turn to this app for entertainment, connection, and legitimate livelihoods that are vital especially during the pandemic – we simply have no choice.

U.S. tech companies including Microsoft, Twitter, and Oracle have been thought to be suitors for the company, but the lawsuit makes it clear that TikTok intends to stand and fight. TikTok employees will also be filing a lawsuit against the administration, arguing that the executive order also falls short of due process.

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