TikTok on Friday said it plans on pushing back against the U.S. Commerce Department’s decision to ban new downloads of the app starting this Sunday, as well as the department’s decision to ban the app outright on November 12, if a deal isn’t reached with a U.S. firm. Oracle has struck a deal with the popular video app’s parent company, Beijing-based Bytedance, to become TikTok’s “trusted technology partner” in the U.S., although a decision from the government on whether the deal answers national security concerns remains hanging in the balance.
“We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the US from November 12. Our community of 100 million U.S. users love TikTok because it’s a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection, and we’re committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform,” a TikTok rep said in a statement.
TikTok GM Vanessa Pappas also tweeted the ban would be “bad” for the social media industry, before inviting Facebook and Instagram to support its cause.
“This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on our core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law,” Pappas wrote.
Oracle’s bid to become to handle TikTok’s U.S. operations is currently being reviewed by federal officials. If the deal gets the green light, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said earlier this week it would lead to a new wing of the company dubbed TikTok Global. (TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance.) The deal would also lead to about 20,000 new American jobs, Mnuchin said.
Whether or not Oracle’s bid is approved by the government remains in jeopardy, though. Oracle becoming TikTok’s “trusted technology provider” may not go far enough to address the government’s concerns TikTok poses a national security threat — something several lawmakers have already raised concerns about.
Further, President Trump on Wednesday said he wasn’t a fan of any deal that leaves Bytedance with a majority stake of TikTok’s U.S. business.
“Conceptually, I can tell you, I don’t like that,” Trump said. “If that’s the case, I’m not going to be happy with that.”
President Trump last month signed an executive order that would ban TikTok from the U.S. unless it’s American operations were taken over by a different company.
TikTok on Friday said it’s “committed to unprecedented levels of additional transparency and accountability well beyond what other apps are willing to do,” including government oversight of its U.S. data security and third-party audits.
“Further, an American technology provider would be responsible for maintaining and operating the TikTok network in the US, which would include all services and data serving US consumers,” the rep’s statement added. “We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order, which was enacted without due process and threatens to deprive the American people and small businesses across the US of a significant platform for both a voice and livelihoods.”