Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves the app TikTok, Trump administration and a lawsuit.
TikTok is taking its fight against the Trump administration to the courts, filing a legal challenge Monday against the government’s order to ban the video app effective in the middle of September.
The Lawsuit was filed Monday in federal court in the Central District of California. The Justice Department declined to comment.
TikTok alleges that Trump’s executive order is “not rooted in bona fide national security concerns,” according to excerpts of the complaint the company detailed in a blog post. It also alleges the U.S. government did not conduct a fair process in deciding that the app needed to be banned in the country and that its Chinese owner ByteDance must divest its assets in the United States.
The Trump administration has long alleged TikTok may pose a national security threat, in large part due to its Chinese ownership.
TikTok’s popularity has dramatically increased in the U.S. over the past year. The company said in the lawsuit it had 91.9 million monthly active users in the country June, up from 26.7 million in February 2019. On a quarterly basis, the company says 100 million in the U.S. use the app.
TikTok’s legal challenge could also serve as a way for the company to gain the higher ground and drive up its price tag in ongoing negotiations for a buyer, a process that has become very difficult between Trump’s orders which give American companies negotiating leverage and TikTok’s pushback.
In the lawsuit, TikTok says it stores American user info in the United States and Singapore, and points to the “extraordinary measures” it says it has taken to protect user privacy.
“By banning TikTok with no notice or opportunity to be heard (whether before or after the fact), the executive order violates the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment,” TikTok’s order reads.
In TikTok’s suit, which is filed against the defendants Donald Trump, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and the Commerce Department, also calls out Trump for issuing the order for “political” reasons and alleges banning the app is not allowed under the international emergency economic powers act. The order was issued before a review of an earlier ByteDance acquisition was announced.
Trump issued a second order on Aug. 14, ordering ByteDance to divest its 2017 acquisition of an app called Musical.ly, which later merged with TikTok. In its lawsuit, TikTok alleges the government process that led to that order was completed five minutes before its deadline on July 30 after a long review.
Facebook referred to TikTok as one of its leading competitors in an antitrust hearing before Congress last month. It recently released Instagram Reels, a video feature in its photo app designed to rival TikTok.