TikTok plans to sue the Trump administration as soon as this week, challenging the president’s recent executive order to ban the short-form video sharing platform from the United States.
According to a source who spoke to NPR, TikTok will file a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for Southern California, where its American operations are based, as early as Tuesday.
NPR has learned that the lawsuit will argue that President Trump’s far-reaching action is unconstitutional because it failed to give the company a chance to respond. It also alleges that the administration’s national security justification for the order is baseless, according to the source.
“It’s based on pure speculation and conjecture,” the source said. “The order has no findings of fact, just reiterates rhetoric about China that has been kicking around.”
White House spokesman Judd Deere declined to comment on the potential lawsuit, and instead defended the executive order. “The Administration is committed to protecting the American people from all cyber related threats to critical infrastructure, public health and safety, and our economic and national security,” he said.
Trump on Friday signed two executive orders that would officially ban any U.S. transactions with the Chinese companies that own TikTok and WeChat in 45 days, in an escalation of the ongoing technological cold war between the two countries.
TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, said it was “shocked” by the executive order and that it would respond in court, if necessary. In a statement, TikTok said, “The text of the 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.”
Microsoft has publicly confirmed its intention to purchase TikTok in the United States within 45 days, and the company is currently in discussions with ByteDance. Twitter has also reportedly expressed interest in acquiring the service. A previous report suggesting Apple is interested in buying the app turned out to be inaccurate.
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