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TikTok hits back at Trump’s executive order banning app in US

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TikTok is suing the US government following Trump's executive orders
TikTok is suing the US government following Trump's executive orders   -   Copyright  AP Photo
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The popular video-sharing app TikTok is fighting back against an executive order signed by Donald Trump banning it in the US.

At the end of March, the US president declared he would ban the app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, amid security and privacy concerns.

He issued two executive orders in August; the first, banning any “transaction” with ByteDance, and the second ordering ByteDance to sell assets used to support TikTok in the US.

On Monday a TikTok spokesperson told Euronews: “We have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution. 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 statement went on: “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.”

Concerns on both sides of the aisle

Both Republican and Democratic politicians have aired concerns about TikTok, ranging from its vulnerability to censorship and misinformation campaigns, to the safety of user data and children’s privacy.

TikTok insists it has not shared US user data with the Chinese government and would not do so, and that it does not censor videos at the request of Chinese authorities.

It hired a former Disney executive as its American CEO, alongside other American executives, in a bid to distance itself from its Chinese owners.

TikTok counts around 100 million American users and currently employs 1,500 people in the country, with a further 10,000 jobs planned, according to a statement on the company’s website which explained why it was suing the US government.

In the statement, the company says the Trump administration had “ignored extensive efforts to address its concerns”, including showing that data relating to US users was not stored in China, and points to its key personnel being outside of Chinese jurisdiction.

It also claims the banning of the app “with no notice or opportunity to be heard" violated its Fifth Amendment due-process rights.

"The executive order is not rooted in bona fide national security concerns,” it goes on, asserting that national security experts have criticised the “political nature” of the executive order.