TikTok Challenges US Decision on Banning the App

TikTok announced that it has filed a lawsuit on Monday, August 24, 2020, against the United States (US) government by challenging the executive decision of the Trump administration to ban the social networking application and its operation in the US. The administration under the guidance of President Donald Trump issued an executive order on August 6, 2020, to prohibit any transaction with TikTok’s parent company, a China-based Internet technology company, ByteDance Ltd. In a separate order on August 14, 2020, the administration issued a notice that ByteDance must divest Tiktok’s American operation in 90 days.

Over the recent months, the US government has adopted several measures and decisions to ban Chinese tech giants and applications on the ground that these companies shared data and information with the Chinese government, which violates the privacy rights of the users. Besides that, Washington alleged that the Chinese Communist Party (CPC) has been using data of China-based companies to spy on other rival countries that present a national security threat to the US and its allies.

TikTok’s Defence in the Lawsuit

Filing a lawsuit on Monday, TikTok explained in a blog post that it has already provided the US government an ample of company’s documentation to prove its transparent policies and secured system. The company added that the ban had prohibited it from allowing a due process of law, as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment; thus, it stressed, “we have no choice” but to take legal action in a federal court to ensure the protection of its right.

Earlier, the company said in a statement on August 6, 2020, “For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution… What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes.”

Considering the latest US move as a misuse of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), the company claimed that the act was applied last year by the Trump administration “to address asserted US national security concerns about certain telecommunications companies’ ability to abuse access to ‘information and communications technology and services.’” TikTok noted that it was neither a telecommunication company nor using or providing the types of technology and services contemplated by the 2019 executive order.

TikTok’s Claims for American Advantages

As the company stated in the blog, more than 100 million Americans used the social media platform for entertainment, connection, and generating income as well as “our more than 1,500 employees across the US pour their hearts into building this platform every day.” Moreover, it also stated that an additional 10,000 more jobs have been planned in the US by expanding its operations in various cities including “California, Texas, New York, Tennessee, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, and Washington State.”

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Apart from that, TikTok reminded the Trump administration that the company has assigned American executive members in the top portfolio such as Kevin Mayer as currently holding as Chief Executive Officer, Roland Cloutier as Global Chief Security Officer, and Erich Andersen as General Counsel of the company. In addition, it also added that the content moderation of the company is presently led by a US-based team, which is working independently from the Chinese government’s intervention.

Meanwhile, TikTok has been in several talks with companies including Microsoft Corp., Oracle Corp., and other American investors to sell shares of its operations in the US, Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand operations. However, the company stated that the latest US decision would not affect the talks.