TikTok brings the battle against the Trump administration to trial, filing a complaint against the government’s decision to block the video device effective mid-September Monday.
TikTok alleges that the executive order of President Donald Trump is not grounded in bona fide national security issues, according to excerpts from the company’s lawsuit outlined in a blog post. This also alleges that the U.S. government has not followed a reasonable procedure in determining that the app needs to be banned in the country and that its Chinese owner ByteDance has to divest his assets in the U.S. It brought the suit in federal court in California’s Central District Monday. The Department of Justice declined to comment.
The case is the latest development in a long-running series of events that will possibly result in either banning or selling to an American company in the popular social media app. The Trump administration has long argued that TikTok could pose a threat to national security, due in large part to its control of China. TikTok is possibly caught up in a broader cycle of U.S.-China chaos, as the president blamed the nation for the spread of the novel coronavirus and fought a trade war.
National Security Issues
Trump cited national security issues when this month he signed an executive order banning the device in the US after 45 days. This will be the first time a major consumer app is banned in the world, using the economic forces of international emergency. The order placed pressure on current deal negotiations for ByteDance to sell its U.S. TikTok operations to Microsoft, Twitter or another American corporation. Microsoft has said it will conclude its contract talks with TikTok by Sept. 15, making it the leading suitor for the short-form video app.
The popularity of TikTok has risen in the U.S. in the past year. In the complaint, the company said it had 91.9 million active monthly users in the country of June, up from 26.7 million in February 2019. The company claims 100 million in the U.S. using the service quarterly. TikTok’s legal action could also serve as a way for the company to seize the upper hand and drive up its price tag in ongoing buyer negotiations, a phase that has become a tug-of-war between Trump’s directives – offering American power businesses – and TikTok’s pushback.
Throughout the year, TikTok has engaged in a broad-based public awareness campaign to reassure U.S. consumers. Also, regulators that this is not a threat. It has consistently maintained that it will not exchange details with the Chinese government. It is about U.S. users and has recruited former Disney executive Kevin Mayer as its chief executive here. Yet Trump and other lawmakers have raised concerns that TikTok might pose a threat. It is to national security because of the influence that China exerts on companies based there. Also, raising fears that one day the company force to pass on customer information.
TikTok claims it stores American user data in the U.S. and Singapore in its complaint. Also, points to the “extraordinary steps” it claims it has taken to protect consumer privacy.
TikTok’s case, brought against Trump, Trade Secretary Wilbur Ross and Commerce Department. Also calls on Trump to issue the order for “political” purposes. Thus, claims that suspending the application is non-authorize under the International Economic Emergency Powers Act. The order gives before the announcement of a study of an earlier ByteDance purchase, TikTok says in the suit.
Only days before the order releases, Trump state it is in the United States. Treasury receives a “very large” portion of the sale price for TikTok. Under what authority does the government claim this, outside normal fees and taxes, is unclear. TikTok will sue to dispute the underlying executive order procedure. But not the merits of the decision itself said, Robert Chesney. He is an associate dean at the School of Law at the University of Texas.
On 14 August Trump released a second-order asking ByteDance to divest its 2017 acquisition. It is of an app name Musical.ly, which later merges with TikTok. In its complaint, TikTok alleges that, following a month-long investigation. The government procedure that leads to that order complete five minutes before its July 30 deadline.
During an antitrust hearing before Congress last month, Facebook pointed to TikTok as one of its major rivals. Recently it launched Instagram Reels, a video feature intended to challenge TikTok in its photo app.