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TikTok to File Lawsuit Against Donald Trump Over App Ban in the US

David Paul

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TikTok

The company says their communications with the administration concerning their collection of personal data fell on deaf ears.

Social media app TikTok is planning to challenge executive orders against the app issued by the Trump administration.

Earlier this month, Trump issued executive orders giving TikTok 45 days to cease operations in the US if they were not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies.

The orders stated that companies and individuals in the US could not advertise with the platforms, offer them for download via app stores, or enter into licensing agreements once the deadline was up.

The ban comes after claims that ByteDance could use the app the pass on the personal information of US citizens and breach national security, something the company strongly denies.

TikTok said it has made several attempts to contact the administration to discuss the issues but have so far been rebuffed.

In a statement, TikTok said: “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.”

The administration says that it prohibits anyone from dealing with TikTok after 45 days “any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd.”

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In an effort to appease the US Government and disprove allegations of its ties with the Chinese government, TikTok said it ensured that its moderation guidelines and algorithm source code are available online, “which is a level of accountability no peer company has committed to.”

The organisation even engaged with Microsoft to sell the US portion of its business to maintain a US presence, however, Trump said the deal can go through only if the US treasury receives a portion of the proceeds.

A separate lawsuit was also filed on Friday by a group of businessmen against the president’s similar ban on the social media app WeChat, which is owned by the Chinese firm, Tencent.

However, Trump currently seems unlikely to back down, saying in the order that the growth of mobile apps developed and owned by Chinese firms “threatens the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Speaking about whether Trump it would be possible for Trump to ban and remove TikTok after the deadline, Hank Schless a security manager at Lookout, told the Guardian that the short answer is no.

“It would be impossible to actively delete TikTok from every device in the United States,” he said. “It would be up to Google, Apple and Microsoft, as the purveyors of the operating systems, to enforce a ban and ensure users delete TikTok,” which those companies are unlikely to do.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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