Video app TikTok said on Monday it had filed a lawsuit challenging the US government’s crackdown on the influential Chinese-owned website, which Washington accuses of being a national security threat
As tensions soared between the world’s two biggest economies, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 6 giving Americans 45 days to stop doing business with TikTok ‘s Chinese parent company ByteDance — effectively setting a deadline for a sale of the app to a US company.
“Today we are filing a complaint in federal court opposing the administration’s efforts to ban TikTok in the US,” the company said in a blog post.
TikTok claimed in the complaint that Trump’s order was a violation of International Emergency Economic Powers Act because the website — on which users share sometimes humorous short-form videos — is not “an unprecedented and extraordinary threat.”
The executive order “has the power to abolish the freedoms of that group without any evidence to justify such an extreme action,” the suit argued.
“We believe the administration ignored our extensive efforts to address its concerns, which we conducted fully and in good faith even as we disagreed with the concerns themselves,” TikTok said.
TikTok’s kaleidoscopic streams of clips show everything from dance routines and hair-dye tutorials to jokes about everyday life and politics.
The app has been downloaded 175 million times in the US and more than a billion times around the world.
Trump claims TikTok could be used by China to monitor the movements of federal employees, create dossiers on citizens for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.
The business has said it has never sent any US user data to the Chinese government, and Beijing has denounced Trump’s crackdown as political.
The US steps come ahead of November 3 elections in which Trump, behind his rival Joe Biden in the polls, is campaigning hard on an increasingly strident anti-Beijing line.
“The administration failed to follow due process and act in good faith, not providing evidence that TikTok was an actual threat, nor justification for its punitive actions,” the company said.
“We conclude the administration’s actions were highly politicized, and industry experts have said the same.”