TikTok, a popular Chinese video-sharing mobile app that is being banned by U.S President Donald Trump, has filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the Administration’s decision.
It was on August 6 that Trump signed the Executive Order to ban TikTok, along with another Chinese firm WeChat, citing a threat to national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.
In a blog post, the company owned by China’s ByteDance Ltd. said it strongly disagrees with the Administration’s position that TikTok is a national security threat.
According to the firm, 100 million Americans turn to TikTok at present for entertainment, inspiration, and connection, and it has more than 1,500 employees across the country. The company has also planned 10,000 more jobs in California, Texas, New York, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, and Washington State.
Announcing the lawsuit filing, TikTok said, “The Executive Order issued by the Administration on August 6, 2020 has the potential to strip the rights of that community without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process.”
In its order, the U.S. government had said its decision cites the speculative possibility that the application could be manipulated by the Chinese government.
In response, TikTok in its complaint noted its extraordinary measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok’s U.S. user data. TikTok said it stores such data outside of China, on servers located in the United States and Singapore, and has erected software barriers that help ensure that TikTok stores its U.S. user data separately from the user data of other ByteDance products.
Further, its key personnel, including CEO, Global Chief Security Officer, and General Counsel, are all Americans based in the United States, and therefore are not subject to Chinese law.
In its complaint, the company alleged that the Administration ignored its extensive efforts to address concerns. TikTok also said the Executive Order is a misuse of International Emergency Economic Powers Act or IEEPA as it authorizes the prohibition of activities that have not been found to be “an unusual and extraordinary threat.”
“By banning TikTok with no notice or opportunity to be heard (whether before or after the fact), the executive order violates the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment,” the company stated.
The company said it does not take suing the government lightly, but has no other choice to protect its rights, and the rights of its community and employees.
As per the order, TikTok will get 45 days before the ban comes in to effect.
Meanwhile, there are reports that major U.S. tech firms Microsoft, Twitter and Oracle are in the race to buy TikTok’s U.S operations.
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