Chinese-owned social media giant TikTok has been under immense pressure the past few months as the Trump administration continues to accuse it of collaborating with the Chinese government. President Donald Trump himself signed an executive order last August 6 that would ban the app from the U.S by mid-September, which they eventually extended to November 12. But now the app is fighting back and has officially filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, saying the order violates due process and exceeds the scope of sanction rules.
TikTok’s owner ByteDance has had to prove that they are not spying for the government. They have even done a “nearly year-long effort” to provide the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States with all their requested information, which has since then been disregarded in favor of this executive order. “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,” their statement says.
They also state that the Executive Order violates due process and also exceeds the scope of sanction rules as required by the International Emergency Economic Powers Acts (IEEPA) which the government has cited in the ban. They argue that personal communications and informational materials are exempt from sanctions and the app code is covered by the First Amendment since it is an “expressive means of communicatio”.
The complaint filed goes into “significant detail” about how they have presented all the required documents that the CFIUS had previously asked to address security concerns they had about ByteDance’s acquisitor of Musical.ly that led to TikTok. They currently have around 100 million users in the U.S. alone and on behalf of this “thriving community”, they have no choice but to act to preserve that community.
Originally the ban on TikTok was to start this September but Trump has extended it until November 12, giving more time for ByteDance to sell their business to an American company. Microsoft seems to be the frontrunner for the acquisition although some companies like Twitter have also expressed interest. Let’s wait for the next chapter in this saga and if the company will be able to successfully sue the current administration.