TikTok to take legal action against United States over ban
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Aug 24, 2020, 02:00 pm
Popular Chinese video-sharing social networking service TikTok will be launching legal action challenging the ban imposed by United States President Donald Trump. In his executive order earlier this month, Mr Trump had prohibited transactions with the app's parent company, ByteDance, from mid-September. Officials in Washington expressed concerns over the company sharing the data of American users to the Chinese government, which ByteDance has refuted. As on today, TikTok has over 80 million active users in the US.
TikTok has stated that it has made attempts to hold discussions with Mr Trump's administration for nearly a year, but has met with little success, while adding that they were paying no attention to facts. In a statement, a company spokesperson said, "To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the executive order through the judicial system,". The legal action is expected to be initiated later this week, reports state. Earlier on Friday, a separate lawsuit was filed by a group of Chinese-Americans against his ban order on the social media app, WeChat, owned by the Chinese firm, Tencent.
Mr Trump's administration has claimed that China has been able to use TikTok for tracking locations of federal employees and gather information to use in blackmail, or spy on organizations. He stated that the Chinese-owned apps' growth "threatens the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States." In his executive order, he claimed, "This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information,".
In response, TikTok has reiterated that it never shared any US user data to Chinese authorities. Mr Trump's actions against TikTok and WeChat are the latest in a growing campaign against China ahead of the US presidential election in November. He has been waging a trade war against the Asian superpower ever since he took office four years back. The US isn't the only country to ban TikTok, as India ordered for a stop on the operations of the app in the country, while Australia is also reportedly in consideration of proceeding with a similar action.
Lawyer Michael Bien, who is representing those challenging President Trump's ban said the executive order violated users' rights to free speech, while adding that it is unconstitutional. "Having it suddenly cut off would be disastrous and frightening for people, especially in the pandemic," he said speaking about the ban.