TikTok to Sue the Trump Administration Over US Ban

After weeks of tension, TikTok parent company ByteDance said it would file a lawsuit against the Trump administration.
August 24, 2020, 12:23pm
trump tiktok
TikTok logo and U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo:  AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE AND JIM WATSON

Popular short-form video app TikTok plans to file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over an executive order that seeks to ban it in the U.S. unless it is sold to an American buyer.

Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that will soon make it illegal for anyone in America to conduct “transactions” with TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance. Trump referred to the executive order as a “national emergency.”

Trump said TikTok “may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.”

Tiktok, which has millions of users in the U.S., has denied these allegations, saying the company has not shared “any data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request.”

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On Saturday, a TikTok spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that it intended to sue the Trump administration after failed attempts at coming to a resolution. 

“Even though we strongly disagree with the administration’s concerns, for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution,” TikTok spokesman Josh Gartner said in a statement to The Verge.

“What we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.

“To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the Executive Order through the judicial system,” the spokesperson added. 

On Sunday, ByteDance doubled down and said it would officially file a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday, August 24, Reuters reported. 

Trump’s executive order is the latest of a series of blows from the U.S. as the tensions with China continue to intensify.

The order has put extreme pressure on ByteDance to sell the app that has become immensely popular with Gen-Z.

Microsoft has said it in talks with ByteDance for a possible acquisition. The U.S. tech giant said these discussions will end “no later than September 15, 2020.” 

Microsoft said in a statement on August 2 that a potential new structure for TikTok “would build on the experience TikTok users currently love, while adding world-class security, privacy, and digital safety protections.”

Aside from Microsoft, Twitter and Oracle have also reportedly thrown their hat in the ring to buy out TikTok.