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Bytedance expected to sue over US TikTok ban this week

By | Published on Monday 24 August 2020


TikTok owner Bytedance has confirmed that it will sue the American government over Donald Trump’s executive orders that will effectively ban use of the video-sharing app within the US. The lawsuit is expected to be filed this week.

Earlier this month Trump issued an order saying that US citizens and companies would be forbidden from transacting with TikTok and Bytedance from 15 Sep. A separate order then followed demanding that Bytedance sell its US-based assets by 12 Nov.

Talks were already underway regarding a possible sale of the TikTok business in the US, and maybe elsewhere, before those orders were issued. However, Trump setting an imminent deadline strengthens the negotiating hand of possible bidders, such as Microsoft, while the President and his allies have been threatening to interfere in that transaction in other ways too.

Hence, Bytedance has a good reason to challenge Trump’s orders. Particularly as the China-based company continues to deny all the allegations made against it, by the US government and others, regarding what happens to the data it collects about its global userbase, and whether or not the Chinese government has access to that data and audience.

Having more or less immediately hit out at Trump’s original executive order, Bytedance issued another statement this weekend confirming that legal action was now imminent.

It said: “Even though we strongly disagree with the [Trump] administration’s concerns, for nearly a year 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”.

“To ensure that the rule of law prevails and that our company and users are treated fairly”, the company went on, “we have no choice but to challenge the executive order through the judicial system”.

So that’s something to look forward to.