TikTok is threatening to sue to block Donald Trump’s executive order effectively banning the Chinese-owned video-sharing app in the U.S. in 45 days, calling the president’s action a “dangerous precedent” threatening “open markets.”
TikTok said in blog post it was “shocked” by the order, and slammed the Trump administration’s lack of “due process or adherence to the law.”
It warned that the sudden edict risks undermining global business “trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth.” It sets a “dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets,” the statement added.
TikTok vowed to pursue “all remedies” to “ensure that the rule of law is not discarded, and that our company and our users are treated fairly — if not by the Administration, then by the US courts.”
Trump’s order, if it is carried out, will ban any U.S. transaction with TikTok’s Beijing-based owner ByteDance. Trump claims the app is a security risk to the U.S., which gives him the power to order it shut down. TikTok data collection “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information,” the order states.
Microsoft is currently negotiating to buy TikTok from ByteDance, but it’s now under an extremely tight timeline to reach a deal. In an unprecedented move involving an American company, Trump this week demanded that a percentage of any sale be given the to U.S. Treasury, to be paid by either party or both.
Trump demanded in a second executive order that U.S. transactions with popular messaging app WeChat also be banned in 45 days.
WeChat, owned by Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent, is used by millions of people around the globe. The company owns or invests in several major American gaming companies, including Activision Blizzard, Riot Games and Epic Games, reports CNBC. Action against WeChat could hurt all the companies just as the U.S. is reeling under the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis.
TikTok, particularly popular with young people, has forged an anti-Trump reputation, which many users are convinced is playing a role in the president’s crackdown on the company. TikTok users in June flooded the Trump campaign with fake requests for seat reservations at the president’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally, and proudly took a bow for the thousands of empty seats on the big day.