International

ByteDance Sues US Government Over Trump's TikTok Ban

China-based ByteDance filed a lawsuit Monday (Aug. 24) to fight President Trump’s move to ban its video-sharing application, TikTok, CNBC reported.

TikTok’s plans to sue had been widely reported. The flap is part of the growing tensions between the U.S. and China. Trump has raised security issues over TikTok — including that ByteDance’s app could be taking personal information from TikTok users and even passing some on to the Chinese government.

ByteDance’s lawsuit argues that TikTok poses no security risk.

A TikTok blog post said the company had made a “nearly year-long effort … in good faith to provide the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) the voluminous information requested.” The U.S. interagency committee reviews some transactions involving foreign investments from the standpoint of national security.

The blog added that Trump’s Aug. 6 executive order “has the potential to strip the rights” of millions of Americans to keep using the app while potentially costing U.S. employees their jobs. In addition, the company said, Trump’s threat was made “without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process.”

The Trump administration issued an executive decision on Aug. 6 banning transactions with TikTok or parent company ByteDance, within 45 days. As the clock ticks, TikTok has been in sale talks with Microsoft and Oracle.

In addition, Trump issued an Aug. 14 order that gives ByteDance 90 days to divest its TikTok operations in the U.S.

As part of the international fight, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reportedly played a role in stoking TikTok fears.

TikTok recently told users not to be deterred by the idea of a ban, saying the company wouldn't be going anywhere.

The app has been wildly popular during the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 100 million users a month in the U.S. TikTok makes the argument that its popularity is part of why the app should not be banned.

But the national security questions have persisted — and Congress even voted to ban federal employees from having the app on their government-issued mobile devices.

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