TikTok US Ban Bytedance

TikTok Weighs Suing US Government If Mistreated

Chen Du Sophia Yu

posted on August 7, 2020 6:19 pm

BEIJING (PingWest) — TikTok made an announcement on Friday, August 7, regarding the Executive Order issued by President Trump earlier that day, banning the app in 45 days.

The company said that it could sue the US government in US courts, if the company and its users are not treated fairly.

"We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process," said the company, adding that it has sought to sincerely engage with the US government over the past year to provide a constructive solution to the national security concerns, but the Administration's treatment of TikTok lacked due process, 

"What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses," read the statement.

TikTok claimed that the White House used "reports" from unknown sources which addressed that TikTok may be used for misinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, despite numerous first and third-party investigations have shown no concrete proof.

The company then went on to attack the Executive Order's anti-business nature, claiming that it "risks undermining global businesses' trust in the United States' commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth."

"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," said TikTok.

Lastly, the company called on its US users to express their opinions to their elected officials, including the White House.

"You have the right to be heard," read the last sentence of the statement.

TikTok is currently in talks with Microsoft to sell its operations in US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand for a hefty sum that could be as high as $30 billion. 

Zhang Yiming, founder and CEO of ByteDance, which owns TikTok, previously said in an internal email that what the US actually wants is a ban, not a sale of TikTok's US operations,

"Many people got it wrong. The focus was never CFIUS investigating into the national security concern of our acquisition of, hence forcing us to sell TikTok's US operations to an American company,"

"However, a sale was never the true intent of the US, It is not even what they wanted. Their actual goal is a full ban, maybe even more..." wrote Zhang.

President Trump signed two Executive Orders earlier today, banning both WeChat and TikTok in 45 days, or roughly September 20. By that time, any person or business under the jurisdiction of the US will be banned from any transactions with the two apps, their respective maker, i.e. Tencent and ByteDance, and any subsidiary of these two companies. 

The Administration later on clarified that the WeChat ban will not affect US game companies, many of which are owned by Tencent.

The ban will be carried out by the Commerce Department. However, details of the bans, such as what actions constitute "transaction" as mentioned in the Executive Orders, are still vague at this point.