TikTok sues the US government over upcoming ban

The company says it hasn't been given due process, among many other issues.
Nathan Ingraham
N. Ingraham|08.24.20

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Nathan Ingraham
August 24, 2020 11:20 AM
CULVER CITY, Aug. 23, 2020  -- Photo taken on Aug. 21, 2020 shows a logo of the video-sharing social networking company TikTok's Los Angeles Office in Culver City, Los Angeles County, the United States. TikTok confirmed Saturday that it will file a lawsuit against the Trump administration over an executive order banning any U.S. transactions with its parent company ByteDance.(Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

As expected, TikTok has filed a lawsuit against the US government to challenge a proposed ban against the service. Specifically, TikTok says the executive order signed by President Trump on August 6th is “without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process.” The company says it disagrees with the characterization of TikTok as a national security threat and that the Trump administration ignored all of TikTok’s efforts to address those concerns.

Unsurprisingly, TikTok said it would have preferred to continue conversations rather than turn to litigation, but the company feels its hands are tied at this point. “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,” TikTok wrote in a statement.

Specifically, TikTok says that it has already gone to “great lengths” to show a commitment to the US market, noting that its key personnel are all Americans based in the US, thus not subject to Chinese law. Furthermore, the company stores data not in China but in servers located in the US and Singapore. Finally, TikTok also has built “software barriers” that the company says keeps TikTok user data separate from other products from ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company.

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TikTok also outlines the concern that the executive order bans activities that are not “an unusual and extraordinary threat,” something that’s required by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). TikTok says that the IEEPA has been cited by the administration for justification of the ban.

The company says that it has spent nearly a year working in good faith to give the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States requested details and information about TikTok’s business — information it says is being completely disregarded. Ultimately, it sounds like TikTok is claiming it has worked closely to provide the US government plenty of details on how it works to show it isn’t a threat and that all that information hasn’t been taken into account with the August 6th executive order.

TikTok has been preparing for this day since the executive order went public. At the time, the company said it was “shocked” by the move and that it would explore “all remedies available” to fight the White House ban on the app. The question now is whether the US courts will give a stay on the ban and whether they’ll side with TikTok over the White House.

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