Declaring it isn't a threat, TikTok sues Trump to halt his attacks
TikTok is fighting back against the Trump administration, saying the app does not pose a “unique and extraordinary threat.”
TikTok took its case to federal court Monday to counter an executive order from President Donald Trump, putting the app on notice about operating in the U.S. Trump has targeted TikTok, the social video app owned by Chinese-based ByteDance, as a national security threat. Trump warned that he will bar U.S. companies from doing business with TikTok, and is pressuring it into sales talks.
TikTok says that Trump’s case is weak and wants U.S. courts to intervene. In its lawsuit, TikTok accused the Trump administration of acting arbitrarily, “without any evidence to justify such an extreme action, and without any due process.”
TikTok is in a precarious position in the U.S. because of its Chinese ownership. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. has applied added scrutiny to the app—which claims to reach 100 million consumers in the U.S.
Trump, fearing that the app could control too much data about American consumers, has been pushing TikTok into sales talks with a U.S. company. TikTok was given until Sept. 15 to either sell or face a U.S. ban. Microsoft and Oracle have emerged as likely bidders.
The uncertainty around TikTok has led to confusion in the ad world. TikTok has had to adopt unique clauses in its ad contracts in order to give brands assurances that they will be protected if its business is disrupted in the U.S.
However, the company is not going anywhere, it has said numerous times. Last week, TikTok even launched its largest global ad campaign to highlight the positive aspects of its community of video creators.
Last year, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. was reviewing TikTok’s acquisition of Musical.ly, another Chinese-based app with users in the U.S. In its complaint, TikTok says it provided all necessary documentation to the review board, but was stonewalled. "Despite these repeated efforts and concrete proposals to alleviate any national security concerns, the agency record reflects that CFIUS repeatedly refused to engage with ByteDance and its counsel about CFIUS’s concerns," TikTok said.
TikTok also put forth a legal argument that the administration has not met the standards needed to take such drastic measures. “[The order] is not based on a bona fide national emergency and authorizes the prohibition of activities that have not been found to pose 'an unusual and extraordinary threat,'" TikTok said.