Controversial social media platform TikTok has announced plans to sue the Trump Administration for its executive order demanding TikTok divest its operations in America.
Initial media reports indicate that TikTok is planning on challenging Trump’s executive orders on the basis that they deprive TikTok of due process, and that it will “also contest its classification by the White House as a national security threat,” according to CNBC’s sources.
TikTok spokesperson Josh Gartner has told The Verge that “even though we strongly disagree with the administration’s concerns, for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution.”
Gartner continued to explain that “what we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”
“To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the Executive Order through the judicial system,” Gartner said.
On August 6, the Trump administration used the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, as well as the National Emergencies Act to sign an executive order that would block transactions between American businesses and TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance.
At that time, President Trump said that the executive order was aimed at “address[ing] the national emergency with respect to the information and communication technology supply chain.”
He continued to explain that “there is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance… might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”
Just days before the executive order was signed, we reported that Trump’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo told reporters that TikTok, along with a number of Chinese-made applications were “feeding data” to Communist Party officials.
“These Chinese software companies doing business in the United States, whether it’s TikTok or WeChat – there are countless more… are feeding data to the Chinese Communist Party, and their national security apparatus,” he said.
Weeks later, on August 14th, Trump signed a second executive order stating that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance had 90 days to either sell or divest its American operations, otherwise risking being banned from operating in the U.S. entirely.
Now, TikTok is set to challenge the order from President Trump.
For context, TikTok is a relatively new social media platform compared to its competitors, but has seen stratospheric growth, particularly in 2020. TikTok says that in the first quarter of 2020 alone, more than 315 million people downloaded the application, bringing its user base to 2 billion.
To make things more interesting, Microsoft has publicly announced its intention to purchase TikTok, with CEO Satya Nadella stating that “Microsoft fully appreciates the importance of addressing the President’s concerns. It is committed to acquiring TikTok subject to a complete security review and providing proper economic benefits to the United States, including the United States Treasury.”
The rumour mill has also suggested Twitter and Oracle are also interested in acquiring TikTok, but no official word has been released.