Monday, Tik Tok filed a lawsuit against the Donald Trump administration over the executive order banning it from doing business in the United States for 45 days. Tik Tok, which owns BiteDance (US representation for Tik Tok), said there was no other way to protect the rights of themselves and their employees and that the case was not trivial.
As per the official statement from Tik Tok through their blog post – “Why we are suing the Administration” it is detailed as ‘The executive order is threatening to ban our activities in the United States. It avoids creating 10,000 American jobs and hurts the millions of Americans who turn to this app for entertainment, relationships, and legitimate livelihoods – especially during epidemics. At the time – we had no choice”.
On August 6, Donald Trump passed an executive order banning any form of trade in the United States for 45 days. On August 14, Trump issued an order giving Tik Tok 90 days to hand over its operations in the United States.
However, the White House has not yet commented on the case.
TikTok said in the complaint that the executive order was based on speculation that the Chinese government was tampering with the TikTok application.
As the U.S. government is aware, Tik Tok has taken extraordinary steps to protect the privacy and security of its American user data. Tik Tok said that such data is outside of China (in Singapore and the US) and is kept separate from the data of other BitDance products.
Tik Tok also denied the government’s allegations that Tik Tok was a threat to national security.
The major questions/points TikTok raised over the blog post are:
- The US Trump Administration ignored the great lengths that TikTok has gone to in order to demonstrate our commitment to serving the US market.
- Not only does the Executive Order ignore due process, it also authorizes the prohibition of activities that have not been found to be “an unusual and extraordinary threat,” as required by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), under which the Administration is purportedly acting.
- In the complaint we (TikTok) also point to the fact that the August 6 Executive Order is a misuse of IEEPA.
- In the complaint we (TikTok) also go into significant detail about the nearly year-long effort we made in good faith to provide the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) the voluminous information requested – was disregarded – and the numerous steps we offered to take in our commitment to transparency and cooperation.
- Despite all of these efforts, without the standard communication appropriate in a CFIUS case, and with little regard to the mitigation proposals that TikTok had made, CFIUS rushed out its decision within five minutes of its deadline.
- In the August 6 Executive Order issued under IEEPA, the Administration failed to follow due process and act in good faith, neither providing evidence that TikTok was an actual threat, nor justification for its punitive actions. We believe the Administration’s decisions were heavily politicized, and industry experts have said the same.
TikTok filed the suit Monday in federal court in the Central District of California. The Justice Department declined to comment. The lawsuit is the latest escalation in string of events that will likely end in the popular social media app either being banned or sold to an American company.
Earlier, the U.S. government has suggested that Tick Tock’s operations in the United States should not be transferred to any American company or face a ban. Top Giant companies, including Microsoft, have expressed interest in Tik Tok and are in talks.
Microsoft also stated that they are planning to buy TikTok globally rather than limiting a deal just only in US. That said, it will open up the Indian market again back to TikTok where they have suffered huge loss due to ban in India.
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