Tech

TikTok Sues Trump White House Over Ban Threat: 'We Simply Have No Choice'

Donald Trump
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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the daily briefing of the White House Coronavirus Task Force in the Rose Garden at the White House April 14, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Two weeks after President Donald Trump signed an executive order that many interpreted as an outright ban on the use of TikTok in the U.S. the popular social video app is following up on its promise to sue.

TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance and, on August 6, Trump issued an order that would bar "any transaction by any person" with that company or any of its subsidiaries. He's invoking the National Emergencies Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act because TikTok allegedly "captures vast swaths of information from its users," which could allow the Chinese government "to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage."

The order sparked swift criticism with many questioning whether Trump has the authority to stop Americans from exercising their constitutionally-protected free speech rights via 15-second video clips.

TikTok's suit echoes its earlier claims that despite its best efforts to ease concerns — which included expressing a willingness to sell U.S. operations to a domestic company and promising to establish an LA-based transparency center to provide more context on how it moderates the content that appears on its app — "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 company on Monday announced the suit on its blog, along with a statement that reads, in part, "To be clear, we far prefer constructive dialogue over litigation. But with the Executive Order threatening to bring a ban on our US operations – eliminating the creation of 10,000 American jobs and irreparably harming the millions of Americans who turn to this app for entertainment, connection, and legitimate livelihoods that are vital especially during the pandemic – we simply have no choice."

TikTok tells The Hollywood Reporter the complaint will be filed later today in the Central District of California. More to come.

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