Tik Tok to sue Trump for executive order banning the Chinese app over spying concerns

TIK TOK is set to sue Donald Trump for his executive order banning the Chinese app over spying concerns.

The lawsuit will reportedly argue that the nation-wide ban is "unconstitutional" and the national security concerns are "baseless".


President Trump signed signed an executive order on Thursday classifying the popular video-sharing app as a "national security threat" which poses "real" risks to US citizens.

According to NPR, Tik Tok is prepared to file a federal lawsuit as early as Tuesday in the US District Court for the Southern District of California.

'UNCONSTITUTIONAL'

An unnamed source who was directly involved in the litigation told the publication TikTok will argue that Trump's ban is unconstitutional because it did not give the company an opportunity to respond, and that the oft-cited national security justification is baseless.

"It's based on pure speculation and conjecture," the source said.

"The order has no findings of fact, just reiterates rhetoric about China that has been kicking around."

The order has no findings of fact, just reiterates rhetoric about China that has been kicking around.

The White House declined to comment on the expected legal battle when approached for comment by NPR.

However, spokesman Judd Deere did defend Trump's order, saying: "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."

BANNED

Trump issued his executive order banning TikTok in the US and giving its parent company ByteDance 45 days to sell the app.

The social media app will be banned on September 20 if its parent company ByteDance doesn't sell its American operations.

The order claims that TikTok "may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party," and specifically cites TikTok videos that "spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus".

It also states that the company "reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China's treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities".

"At this time, action must be taken to address the threat posed by one mobile app in particular, TikTok," the order says.

"TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories.

"This data threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans' personal and proprietary information, potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage."

According to a news release issued by the White House on Thursday, Trump said: "These risks are real."

"The Department of Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, and the United States Armed Forces have already banned the use of TikTok on Federal Government phones," the statement continued.

"The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security."

Trump also signed another executive order banning the mobile app WeChat because it posed a "similar threat."

"POLITICAL SUPRESSION"

In a statement TikTok vowed to "pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure… our company and our users are treated fairly – if not by the Administration, then by the US courts".

Parent company ByteDance has denied that it shares data with the Chinese government, and Chinese state media blasted the US response to TikTok as "madness".

Beijing slammed the orders as "arbitrary political manipulation and suppression" and said it would come at the expense of American users and companies.

Microsoft said on Sunday it wants to buy TikTok's entire global operation, and the company could strike a $30billion deal to buy the app in a matter of days.

The tech giant is currently racing against a September deadline to finalize a buy-out of the hugely popular app.

Purchasing the app could be a huge coup for Microsoft and the US, as TikTok serves more than 100million American users.

It would give Microsoft a better chance of competing with major social media rivals, in particular Facebook.

TikTok operates in 150 countries with tens of millions of US users and hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

It was the world’s second most downloaded app in the third quarter of 2019, with an estimated 176 million downloads.

TIKTOK: A BRIEF GUIDE TO THE WORLD'S MOST DOWNLOADED APP

TikTok lets users create and share short videos with music and camera effects.

It is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, founded by the entrepreneur Zhang Yiming.

The $75billion conglomerate acquired the Musical.ly app in 2017 and merged it with TikTok, bringing millions of new users.

It is the world’s most downloaded iPhone app — with nearly 800 million downloads across the globe, according to data from mobile research firm Sensor Tower.

Facebook has taken notice of TikTok's rising popularity, and launched a competitor app called Lasso in November last year.


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