Popular video-sharing app TikTok and its parent company ByteDance on Friday filed a lawsuit against the United States administration, challenging the government’s decision to ban the Chinese-owned platform in the country, Bloomberg reported.
The Donald Trump administration announced a ban blocking people in the country from downloading TikTok and messaging app WeChat starting September 20. TikTok and ByteDance filed a complaint late on Friday night, asking a federal judge in Washington to stop the government from enacting the ban. The lawsuit said the ban would violate the company’s First Amendment free-speech rights.
It added that United States President Donald Trump surpassed his authority and alleged that he imposed the ban for political reasons instead of an “unusual and extraordinary threat”. The complaint said that the president’s actions would “destroy an online community where millions of Americans have come together to express themselves”. The company claimed the US administration has also ignored evidence showing TikTok’s commitment to the privacy and security of users in the country.
This is the second time TikTok has challenged Trump’s decision to ban the app. In its lawsuit filed in August, the company had said it had taken “extraordinary” steps to safeguard US data and argued that the order was a misuse of national security law, according to BBC.
Users of Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat has also filed a lawsuit after the Trump administration banned the platform.
Trump has repeatedly alleged that TikTok poses a threat to his country’s national security because of China’s influence. “The Chinese Communist Party has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had said in a statement after announcing the ban.
The ban order does not prevent US companies from doing business with TikTok and WeChat outside the borders of the country. The order will also not prohibit Apple, Google or others from offering TikTok or WeChat apps anywhere outside the United States.
On August 6, Trump had issued executive orders banning transactions with the video app within 45 days if it did not sell off its assets. A week later, he issued another order and gave the company the 90-day ultimatum to close the deal. Trump had on September 10 refused to extend the September 15 deadline for Chinese company ByteDance to sell its popular video-sharing platform TikTok’s American assets. “It’ll either be closed up or they’ll sell it,” Trump had said. “There will be no extension of the TikTok deadline.”
The platform’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mayer had resigned on August 26, just two months after his appointment. Mayer’s resignation came after Trump claimed the video app could be used to spy on Americans and ordered a crackdown on its parent company. Two days before that, TikTok had filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over the executive order to block the app from operating in the country.
On June 29, the Indian government banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese-linked apps, citing national security concerns. However, the move came just two weeks after a violent clash between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Galwan Valley in Ladakh, along the Line of Actual Control, which resulted in the death of 20 jawans.