TikTok ‘Shocked’ Over Trump’s Executive Order Against The App, Warns It Might Go To Court
As expected, TikTok has warned it could go to court and said it is “shocked” over President Donald Trump’s executive order on Thursday banning Americans from transacting with ByteDance, the firm’s Chinese owner, as the administration presses on to try to ban the wildly popular video-sharing app over national security fears.
In a statement on Friday, TikTok said: “We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process.”
“This Executive Order risks undermining global businesses’ trust in the United States’ commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth,” the company added.
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TikTok has been the target of U.S. lawmakers for months over allegations that the app’s owners could share U.S. users’ data with the Chinese government, claims that TikTok has denied.
The Trump administration has in recent days threatened to ban the app in the U.S., unless a U.S. company, likely Microsoft, can strike a deal to purchase the app by September 15, while TikTok is adamant that it is “not going anywhere.”
But Trump’s executive order targeting ByteDance, and well as Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat, further squeezes TikTok as it could stop Americans from doing business with ByteDance, as well as WeChat owner Tencent, from September 20.
In its latest statement, TikTok blasted Thursday’s executive order, with the app saying it has “sought to engage with the US government in good faith,” and accusing the Trump administration of not paying attention to “facts.”
TikTok said of the executive order: “The text of the decision makes it plain that there has been a reliance on unnamed “reports” with no citations, fears that the app “may be” used for misinformation campaigns with no substantiation of such fears, and concerns about the collection of data that is industry standard for thousands of mobile apps around the world.”
The company added that the order “sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets. We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly – if not by the Administration, then by the US courts.”
“The U.S. is using national security as an excuse and using state power to oppress non-American businesses. That’s just a hegemonic practice,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin, said on Friday, Reuters reports.
The executive order issued against TikTok carries strong claims from the Trump administration, including that the app “captures vast swathes of information from its users” that can be used by China to “track the locations of federal employees…build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
The Trump administration has sought to close in on TikTok in recent days, as it seeks to get rid of Chinese-owned apps operating in the U.S. in the run-up to the November election, citing concerns over national security. The move has further heightened tensions with Beijing, which has threatened to hit back. The executive order is set to take effect in around 45 days and labels WeChat, owned by internet giant Tencent, and TikTok “significant threats”, even as China insists the firms comply with U.S. law. The Trump administration has previously targeted top Chinese telecoms and infrastructure firms, including the world’s biggest smartphone maker, Huawei, and accused them of being backed by the Chinese military in a move that paves the way for further sanctions on the firms.
TikTok boasts 100 million users in the U.S., while WeChat has been downloaded 19 million times in the U.S., Reuters reports.
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