TikTok to Sue Trump Administration Over Executive Order Ban (Report)

Social media app will argue president’s action is unconstitutional, according to NPR

donald trump tiktok

TikTok plans to sue the Trump administration over the president’s executive order that would ban the popular social media app in the United States, according to NPR.

The outlet, which said the suit could be filed as soon as Tuesday, reports that TikTok will argue Trump’s action is unconstitutional because it didn’t give the company a chance to respond and challenges the president’s use of national security as his justification for the far-reaching ban. NPR cited “a person who was directly involved in the forthcoming suit but was not authorized to speak for the company.”

Representatives for TikTok decline to comment on the report Saturday. The White House declined to comment to NPR on the forthcoming lawsuit and said in a statement: “The Administration is committed to protecting the American people from all cyber related threats to critical infrastructure, public health and safety, and our economic and national security.”

In executive orders signed Thursday night, Donald Trump threatened financial restrictions for the Chinese corporate owners of social media apps WeChat and TikTok, demanding that they sell the apps’ U.S. businesses to American companies within 45 days. Citing “the national emergency with respect to the information and communications technology and services supply chain” Trump described in a previous order, the new orders would bar U.S. citizens or businesses from conducting any financial transactions with WeChat and TikTok or their parent companies, Tencent Holdings and ByteDance. The order will take effect “45 days after the date of this order,” i.e. Sept. 20.

ByteDance has been in talks with Microsoft about a sale of TikTok. Earlier this week, Trump had put a Sept. 15 deadline on that transaction.

Trump — joined by a bipartisan group of members of Congress — has long warned against data-mining efforts by Chinese-owned apps like TikTok and WeChat.

TikTok has denied sharing user data with Chinese authorities. But Stratechery’s Ben Thompson recently pointed out that TikTok’s privacy policy explicitly says it “may share” user information “with a parent, subsidiary, or other affiliate of our corporate group,” which, based on how companies operate in China, means data can be sent to authorities.

In a statement on Friday about Trump’s order, TikTok said: “We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process. For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the U.S. government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”


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