TikTok to sue Trump administration over ban on app

TikTok confirms that it'll tap the judicial system to challenge an executive order that bans transactions with the app and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance.

Edward Moyer Senior Editor
Edward Moyer is a senior editor at CNET and a many-year veteran of the writing and editing world. He enjoys taking sentences apart and putting them back together. He also likes making them from scratch. ¶ For nearly a quarter of a century, he's edited and written stories about various aspects of the technology world, from the US National Security Agency's controversial spying techniques to historic NASA space missions to 3D-printed works of fine art. Before that, he wrote about movies, musicians, artists and subcultures.
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Edward Moyer
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TikTok confirmed Saturday that it plans to sue the Trump administration over an executive order that would effectively ban the app in the US, adding that it expects the legal action to happen this week.

"To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the Executive Order through the judicial system," TikTok said in an emailed statement.

Citing fears over national security, President Donald Trump issued an executive order Aug. 6 saying transactions with TikTok parent company ByteDance -- a Chinese firm -- or its subsidiaries would be prohibited. The order was set to kick in 45 days after it was issued, unless TikTok found a US buyer for its operations in the states. Trump later doubled that time frame, in an Aug. 14 follow-up order.

Read more: Trump issues new order to force TikTok sale: What you need to know

Trump and others say they're concerned because the hugely popular video app collects data on its users and could, these critics say, be forced by China's communist government to hand over that information. TikTok has repeatedly said the fears are ungrounded.

If the ban against transactions were to go into effect, it would likely mean that Apple and Google would no longer be able to list the app in their respective app stores, similar to the prohibition against US companies dealing with Huawei.

A TikTok sale could happen though. Microsoft acknowledged early this month that it's pursuing a deal for TikTok's operations in the US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Other companies, including Apple, Twitter and Oracle, are also reportedly interested, though it's unclear how seriously they might pursue an agreement.

"Even though we strongly disagree with the Administration's concerns, for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution," TikTok said in its statement Saturday. "What we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the Administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses."

The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.