TikTok has announced that the Trump administration’s crackdown on the popular Chinese service, which Washington has accused of being a national security threat, will be challenged in court.
Amid tensions between the world’s two largest economies, Donald Trump signed an ordinance on Aug. 6 that gave Americans 45 days to cease doing business with TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance.
“While we totally disagree with the administration’s concerns, we have been working in good faith to find a constructive solution for almost a year,” TikTok said in a statement.
“Instead, we encountered a lack of due process as the administration ignored the facts and tried to get involved in negotiations between private companies.
“To ensure that the rule of law is not scrapped and that our business and our users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the executive order through the judicial system.”
ByteDance said Saturday night that it would file the lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday.
TikTok’s feeds of short video clips have everything from hair dye to dance routines and daily life jokes. It has been downloaded 175 million times in the US and more than a billion times worldwide.
Trump claims TikTok could be used by China to track federal employee locations, compile dossiers on people for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.
The company has said it has never provided US user data to the Chinese government and Beijing has criticized Trump’s actions as political.
U.S. action is ahead of the November 3rd election, with Trump, who is behind his rival Joe Biden in the polls, fighting hard for an increasingly strict anti-Beijing embassy.
Trump has increasingly taken a confrontational stance towards China, challenging it on trade, military and economic issues.
Shortly after Trump announced his moves against TikTok in early August, the US imposed sanctions on Hong Kong’s leaders over the Chinese security collapse following last year’s demonstrations for democracy.
Microsoft and Oracle are potential candidates for TikTok’s US operations
Oracle – whose chairman Larry Ellison raised millions in campaign funds for Trump – has reportedly been considering an offer for TikTok’s operations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The Trump administration has also given ByteDance 90 days to separate from TikTok before the app is banned in the US.
The measures move away from the long-promoted American ideal of a global, open Internet and could invite other countries to follow suit, analysts previously told AFP.
“It is really an attempt to fragment the Internet and the global information society along the lines of the US and Chinese models, and to exclude China from the information economy,” said Milton Mueller, Georgia Tech Professor and founder of the Internet Governance Project.