The lawsuit challenges an executive order from Donald Trump issued August 6 banning "any transactions" between Americans and ByteDance.
- TikTok filed a lawsuit against the US government on Monday.
- The company had said it would challenge President Donald Trump's executive order on August 6 that banned "any transactions" between Americans and TikTok's parent company, ByteDance.
- The lawsuit accuses the Trump administration of suspending the company's right to due process and argues that the government lacked evidence when it claimed that the app was a national-security risk.
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TikTok is suing the US government.
The lawsuit, filed on Monday, challenges an executive order President Donald Trump issued on August 6 that bans "any transactions" between Americans and TikTok's parent company, ByteDance. The company argued in a blog post on its website that the administration ignored TikTok's right to "due process," afforded under the Fifth Amendment, by issuing the executive order.
TikTok also alleged that the US government had no evidence to support its accusations that the app posed a national-security risk because of its ties to China through ByteDance. The US government has alleged that the Chinese government has access to TikTok user data that it can use to spy on American citizens.
"Now is the time for us to act," TikTok said in its blog post. "We do not take suing the government lightly, however we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights, and the rights of our community and employees."
The US government has launched a full-scale offensive against TikTok in recent months, aimed at removing TikTok's presence in the US. The Trump administration has issued two related executive orders in recent weeks, but the lawsuit specifically challenges Trump's first executive order, set to take effect in mid-September.
The Trump administration issued that executive order under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives Trump the authority to declare a national emergency, during which he has "broad authority" to regulate foreign economic transactions by citing national-security risks.
TikTok's lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Central District of California, said the executive order withheld TikTok due process. It also pushed back on the administration's claims of national-security risks, arguing that the company had taken "extraordinary measures" to protect the privacy and security of US users.
The company's roots in China have long raised concerns from US lawmakers about the access and influence the Chinese government has over user data and content moderation. Sens. Chuck Schumer, Josh Hawley, and Marco Rubio have called for investigations into the app over national-security concerns. In recent ads, the Trump campaign accused TikTok of "spying on you." And government entities and both major political parties have banned the app on employees' phones.
TikTok has also faced allegations that it censors certain types of videos, including those categorized as "culturally problematic." In one instance, TikTok suspended the account of Ferrora Aziz shortly after she released a video criticizing the Chinese government's treatment of Uighur Muslims. And internal guidelines — which the company says it no longer uses — indicated that the platform limited content from creators it determined were more prone to bullying, including users it categorized as ugly, overweight, or disabled.
TikTok has recently tried to demonstrate its distance from China, launching a content advisory council to guide policy changes and appointing a US-based CEO in June. The company has also pushed back against user-data concerns. "We store all TikTok US user data in the United States, with backup redundancy in Singapore," the company said in a blog post last October.
The pressure on TikTok has been a sign of opportunity for US competitors who have been unable to stymie the app's meteoric rise and influence. The focus on TikTok has also shifted the government's attention away from companies like Facebook and Google, which are the focus of investigations into whether they engaged in anticompetitive practices. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, in particular, has slammed TikTok and China's tech dominance, while promoting Facebook as a patriotic alternative.