Chinese video-sharing app TikTok on Monday filed a lawsuit against United States President Donald Trump’s administration over an executive order that will block the app from operating in the country, Reuters reported. The company accused Trump of using the ban to further his “broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric” ahead of the US presidential elections.
The lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California, by TikTok and one of its employees Patrick Ryan, who contended that he and his 1,500 colleagues will lose their jobs next month if Trump’s order is enforced.
Trump has repeatedly alleged that TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese internet giant ByteDance, poses a threat to national security because of Beijing’s influence. On August 6, he issued executive orders banning transactions with the video app within 45 days. A week later, he issued another executive order giving ByteDance 90 days to sell its assets in the United States.
In a blogpost, TikTok said it “strongly disagreed” with the White House’s position that the company was a national security threat as the company had “taken extraordinary measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok’s US user data”.
The company said it was shocked by the order, which it said was issued “without any due process”. “We do not take suing the government lightly,” TikTok added. “But with the Executive Order threatening to bring a ban on our US operations ... we simply have no choice.”
TikTok alleged that Trump’s August 6 order banning the social media platform with no notice or “opportunity to be heard” violated the US’ Fifth Amendment, according to AP. Trump’s executive order against TikTok draws its legal authority from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which allows the president to regulate economic transactions in case of a national emergency.
However, the company accused Trump of misusing the act. They said his order is not acting based on a bona fide national emergency and seeks to ban activities that have not been found to be “an unusual and extraordinary threat”.
Trump has been extremely vocal against China following the coronavirus pandemic, with him often accusing the country of playing down the initial spread of the disease.