Legal

Report: TikTok Plans Lawsuit Over US Ban

TikTok

Despite President Donald Trump’s executive order to ban TikTok effective Sept. 15, the Chinese app is not going down without a fight.

The popular video-sharing platform will file a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, where TikTok's American operations are based, as soon as Tuesday (Aug. 11), National Public Radio (NPR) reported, citing a source.

NPR reported ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, will argue Trump’s far-reaching action is unconstitutional because it failed to give the company a chance to respond. It also alleges that the administration's national security justification for the order is untrue.

“It's based on pure speculation and conjecture,” the source told NPR. “The order has no findings of fact, just reiterates rhetoric about China that has been kicking around.”

The White House declined to comment on the expected litigation, NPR reported.

“The administration is committed to protecting the American people from all cyber related threats to critical infrastructure, public health and safety, and our economic and national security,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told NPR.

Last week, TikTok expressed its dismay with the president’s order.

“We are shocked by the recent executive order, which was issued without any due process,” TikTok said in a statement. “... The text of the decision makes it plain that there has been a reliance on unnamed 'reports' with no citations, fears that the app 'may be' used for misinformation campaigns with no substantiation of such fears, and concerns about the collection of data that is industry standard for thousands of mobile apps around the world.”

The iOS and Android app has soared in popularity as a way for teens to create and share short lip-synching and dancing videos. With 800 million users, TikTok is the world’s seventh most popular application.

Lindsay Gorman, a fellow with the Alliance for Securing Democracy, told NPR that ByteDance is bound to the Chinese Communist Party.

“Leaving TikTok in Chinese ownership creates an information space vulnerability at a time leading up to an election when political communication is increasingly happening on the platform,” Gorman said.

The lawsuit comes as two bidders for TikTok’s U.S. operations have emerged. While Microsoft has been working for weeks to close a deal for TikTok’s purchase, Twitter has held preliminary talks with the Chinese company to combine the two mega social media platforms.

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