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24 Aug, 2020 19:28

‘We simply have no choice’: TikTok officially sues Trump administration over ban threat

‘We simply have no choice’: TikTok officially sues Trump administration over ban threat

TikTok has responded to Donald Trump’s looming threat of a ban with a lawsuit against the government, arguing it has been denied due process as the president has deemed the company a national security risk.

The short-form video app, which has approximately 100 million users in the US, officially moved forward with the lawsuit on Monday, having announced its intention of litigation on Sunday. The company said that the administration has not given them a choice in the matter.

“We far prefer constructive dialogue over litigation,” TikTok said in a statement.

“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.”

Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, concerns were raised recently about the app’s storage of users’ data. Trump claims that this information could be sent to the Chinese government, and therefore presents a threat to national security.

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Trump’s order, which gives ByteDance until November 12 to spinoff or sell TikTok, says the app could “allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information – potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”

Trump also expressed concern over parent company ByteDance, which is based in Beijing, in the order, saying there is “credible evidence” that the company could take action to impair national security. 

TikTok argues the order, issued under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, should not be legally valid because they were denied due process, and the administration failed to present concrete data to back up their accusations.

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,” they said.

TikTok has insisted it stores its user data in the US and Singapore and does not send anything to the Chinese government. 

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