TikTok Sues Trump Administration Over 'Extreme' Executive Order

The popular video app says Trump didn’t allow due process when he said it needs to be sold within 90 days

Donald Trump

TikTok sued the U.S. Government on Monday, combating President Trump’s recent executive order banning the app from the U.S. unless it’s sold to an American company. The company, owned by Beijing-based Bytedance, said Trump’s executive order unfairly targets the popular video app “without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process.”

The lawsuit comes a little more than a week after Trump ordered Bytedance to sell TikTok’s U.S. operations within 90 days, saying there is “credible evidence” TikTok “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

“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,” the company said in its lawsuit, according to The New York Times. “Our more than 1,500 employees across the U.S. pour their hearts into building this platform every day,” the company said, noting that it planned to hire more than 10,000 more workers across eight states in the coming years.”

The lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court for the Central District of California. TikTok, in its suit, said it attempted in “good faith” for a year to share information on its data privacy practices with the U.S. Government, but that they were “disregarded.”

Bytedance has been working to quickly offload TikTok’s U.S. business in recent weeks, with Microsoft emerging as the frontrunner.

Despite TikTok’s popularity, critics have grown increasingly concerned the app doubles as a data collection tool for China’s communist government. TikTok has denied ever sharing user data with Chinese authorities. But Stratechery’s Ben Thompson recently pointed out 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 government authorities.

“It is important to note, this would be the case even if the privacy policy were not so honest. All Chinese Internet companies are compelled by the country’s National Intelligence Law to turn over any and all data that the government demands, and that power is not limited by China’s borders,” Thompson explained further. “Moreover, this requisition of data is not subject to warrants or courts, as is the case with U.S. government requests for data from Facebook or any other entity.”

One Reddit user recently reverse-engineered TikTok to show what the app collects from its users — highlighting information Bytedance could be compelled to share with China’s government, based on the country’s laws. The app collects a wide range of information from users, according to the independent review, including IP and MAC addresses, GPS location, and other apps that are installed on a user’s phone, among other data points.

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