TikTok Threatens Legal Action After Trump's Order Possibly Banning the App: 'There Has Been No Due Process'

TikTok
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TikTok

"We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded," the company said.

TikTok has fired back at Pres. Donald Trump's executive order essentially banning the popular social video app in the U.S. if it is not sold to an American company within 45 days, stating that the order came with "no due process or adherence to the law."

"For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed," TikTok said in a lengthy statement posted to its website today (Aug. 7). "What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses."

The popular social video app, which has more than 100 million users in the U.S., has drawn scrutiny from Trump because of its Chinese owner, the tech firm ByteDance. Trump's executive order, announced late last night -- which bars all transactions with ByteDance, unless a sale is reached by Sept. 20 -- is based on worries that the Chinese government is accessing the personal data of U.S. TikTok users.

Microsoft is currently in conversations with ByteDance about acquiring TikTok's operations in the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

In its statement, TikTok says it was "shocked" by the executive order, and repeats that the company "has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request." The statement also suggests that it will pursue legal action. "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," it reads, "if not by the Administration, then by the US courts."

Read the full statement below.

TikTok is a community full of creativity and passion, a home that brings joy to families and meaningful careers to creators. And we are building this platform for the long term. TikTok will be here for many years to come.

We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process. For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.

We made clear our intentions to work with the appropriate officials to devise a solution to benefit our users, creators, partners, employees, and the broader community in the United States. There has been, and continues to be, no due process or adherence to the law. 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. We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request. In fact, we make our moderation guidelines and algorithm source code available in our Transparency Center, which is a level of accountability no peer company has committed to. We even expressed our willingness to pursue a full sale of the US business to an American company. 

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. And it 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.

We want the 100 million Americans who love our platform because it is your home for expression, entertainment, and connection to know: TikTok has never, and will never, waver in our commitment to you. We prioritize your safety, security, and the trust of our community – always. As TikTok users, creators, partners, and family, you have the right to express your opinions to your elected representatives, including the White House. You have the right to be heard.

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