China's ByteDance Challenges Trump Administration's Ban Of TikTok App - Court Documents

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 19th September, 2020) China's ByteDance company, the owner of video sharing app TikTok, filed a complaint with the US Federal district court in the District of Columbia, challenging the United States' recent decision to block the app in the country, court documents revealed.

The complaint, filled late on Friday, comes after the Commerce Department said President Donald Trump's executive orders would effectively block US users from accessing TikTok and another Chinese social media application WeChat from September 20. Trump set November 12 as a deadline for TikTok to find a suitable US partner or be shut down.

According to the complaint, cited by Bloomberg, the company says Trump exceeded his powers regarding the application and did so for political reasons, and not to prevent a security threat to the country. ByteDance said that the ban also violated the right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US constitution.

Vanessa Pappas, the interim CEO of TikTok, called on Facebook and Instagram to support the app and join the litigation.

"We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry. We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law," she wrote on Twitter.

Trump has accused TikTok and WeChat of being tools of the ruling Chinese Communist Party and that US users could have their personal data stolen, something denied by the Chinese side.

On August 6, Trump signed an executive order requiring that US citizens and entities stop transactions with TikTok by mid-September for national security reasons. Later in the month, TikTok filed a complaint against the move, saying that "the administration's decisions were heavily politicized," and the company had no choice but to continue litigation. Several US companies held talks with TikTok after that, and Oracle emerged as a frontrunner in the bid to acquire its US operations from ByteDance.

However, on Thursday, Trump told reporters that he was not prepared to approve the sale of the video sharing app to a US entity until he had seen the proposal, adding that he was reviewing all of the White House's options on TikTok.