TikTok is reportedly going to to file a lawsuit against US President Donald Trump’s August 6 executive order that banned all US transactions with ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent company, multiple American publications reported. Reuters had first reported that the lawsuit could be filed as early as Monday. According to the executive order, all American transactions with ByteDance will be forbidden after September 20.
In a company statement reported by multiple publications, a TikTok spokesperson said, “Even though we strongly disagree with the administration’s concerns, for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution. What we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.” It further said, “To ensure that the rule of law prevails and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the Executive Order through the judicial system.”
It is currently not known which court the company will file the lawsuit in. We have independently reached out to the company for comments. The details of this ban will be sorted out by the US Commerce Department.
Not the only lawsuit in the dock: WeChat users group sues Trump administration
A WeChat users group sued the Trump administration on August 21, seeking to bar the August 6 executive order that banned US transactions with WeChat as well, the Wall Street Journal reported. The lawsuit has been filed by US WeChat Users Alliance and other small businesses and individuals who say that they are not affiliated with the app’s owner, Tencent. The group’s lawyer called the app ban “unconstitutional”, as per the WSJ.
TikTok sang a different tune in India
The Indian government had banned TikTok, WeChat and 57 other Chinese apps on June 29 under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act citing national security interests. Unlike in the US, in India, the company had then said that it had “no plans to pursue” “legal action regarding the directive by the Government of India”.
“We are committed to working with the government to address its concerns. We comply with the laws and regulations of the Government of India. Ensuring the data sovereignty, security and privacy of our users has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us,” the company had then said in a statement.
Not the only executive order against TikTok
In another executive order signed on August 14, Trump directed ByteDance to divest from its American assets and it rights to any user data that TikTok gathered in the country, within 90 days. This order directed ByteDance to destroy any TikTok data from US users, and report to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) once all the data is destroyed. ByteDance must also destroy any data collected by Musical.ly, which the company bought in 2017, as per the new order. It also prohibits ByteDance from selling TikTok to a third party, at least not until it notifies CFIUS in writing of the intended recipient or buyer.
Multiple tech giants have entered the race to buy the app’s American business. Microsoft is the frontrunner to buy TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, and maybe even globally, according to the Financial Times. Oracle, too, has expressed interest in TikTok’s US operations, a move that is supported by Trump. Twitter has also emerged as a potential suitor for TikTok according to multiple reports.
Both orders had been signed citing national security concerns around the company sharing data with the Chinese government.