Social Media

TikTok sues Trump administration over ban in the US

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on August 25, 2020

TikTok has filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to ban the app in the US.

“We are filing a complaint in federal court challenging the Administration's efforts to ban TikTok in the US,” the company said in a press release announcing its decision to take legal action.

“We do not take suing the government lightly, however, we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights, and the rights of our community and employees,” it added.

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 6, banning all transactions with ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company which is to come into effect in September citing security concerns.

The lawsuit alleges that the Executive Order had been issued “without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process.”

Concerns over order

It highlighted various legal concerns around the order. The company further said that the order also ignored its cooperation with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”).

“In the complaint, we also go into significant detail about the nearly year-long effort we made in good faith to provide the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (“CFIUS”) the voluminous information requested — was disregarded — and the numerous steps we offered to take in our commitment to transparency and cooperation,” it said.

The committee had looked into ByteDance’s acquisition of Musical.ly, a China-based video-sharing platform in 2019. Musical.ly was acquired by ByteDance in 2017.

“With little regard to the mitigation proposals that TikTok had made, CFIUS rushed out its decision within five minutes of its deadline,” it said.

It further alleges that the decision to pass the executive order had been politicised. It also notes Trump’s earlier statement that any deal around the acquisition of TikTok in the US would have to make the Treasury Department “a lot of money.”

“In the August 6 Executive Order issued under IEEPA, 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. We believe the Administration's decisions were heavily politicized, and industry experts have said the same,” it said.

“The President’s demands for payments have no relationship to any conceivable national security concern and serve only to underscore that Defendants failed to provide Plaintiffs with the due process required by law,” it added.

Microsoft has been in discussions with Trump in order to acquire TikTok’s US operations and has been given until September 15 to provide its proposal. Oracle has also held discussions to acquire the company in the US according to media reports.

Published on August 25, 2020

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