The video-sharing app is vowing it’ll remain in operation, despite the White House’s attempt to cripple its business. ‘TikTok will be here for many years to come,’ it said.
TikTok plans to resist President Trump’s executive order by fighting it in court.
The executive order, which prohibits US “transactions” with the video-sharing app, sets a dangerous precedent against free expression and open markets, TikTok said in a statement Thursday night.
The order also arrived “without any due process,” it said. So in response, TikTok is gearing up to wage a legal battle against the White House.
“We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly —if not by the Administration, then by the US courts,” TikTok said.
The Trump administration has yet to define which “transactions” fall under the executive order, and if US-based TikTok users will be ensnared. But US app stores, cloud providers and credit card companies would almost certainly need to stop doing business with TikTok, or risk facing hefty fines and possible imprisonment.
Still, some legal experts say Trump’s order is unconstitutional because it violates free speech protections under the First Amendment. “This is another abuse of emergency powers under the broad guise of national security,” said Hina Shamsi, a director at the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Selectively banning entire platforms harms freedom of speech online and does nothing to resolve the broader problem of unjustified government surveillance, including by our own government,” she added.
However, the real aim of Trump’s executive order was probably to pressure TikTok into selling itself to Microsoft. The software giant is currently negotiating with TikTok’s Chinese parent company ByteDance to take it over. However, the two parties only have 45 more days to reach a deal. If they don’t, the executive order will take effect, and the White House can begin penalizing US companies and individuals that work with TikTok.
In the meantime, the video-sharing app is vowing it’ll remain in operation, despite the White House’s attempt to cripple its business. “TikTok will be here for many years to come,” the company said in its statement.
Trump is seeking to ban TikTok on claims the Chinese government will secretly use the video-sharing app to spy on millions of Americans. However, TikTok has been adamant it’s operating as an independent business free of Chinese control.
“The text of the (Trump’s) decision makes it plain that there has been a reliance on unnamed ‘reports’ with no citations, fears that the app ‘may be’ used for misinformation campaigns with no substantiation of such fears, and concerns about the collection of data that is industry standard for thousands of mobile apps around the world,” TikTok added. “We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request.”
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