TikTok launches legal action against Trump over ban

TikTok launches legal action against Trump over ban
Mr Trump's executive order prohibits transactions with TikTok's owner ByteDance from mid-September. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Chinese popular micro-video app TikTok is taking legal action to challenge a ban imposed by US President Donald Trump.

The President’s executive order prohibits transactions with TikTok’s owner ByteDance from mid-September.

Officials in Washington are concerned that the company could pass data on American users to the Chinese government, something ByteDance has denied doing.

The app has 80 million active US users.

The company says it has tried to engage with the US administration for nearly a year but has encountered a lack of due process and an administration that pays “no attention to facts”.

A company spokesperson said: “To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the executive order through the judicial system.”

TikTok expects the legal action to begin this week.

A group of Chinese-Americans filed a separate lawsuit on Friday against the president’s similar ban on the social media app WeChat, which is owned by the Chinese firm, Tencent.

TikTok’s users post short video clips on the platform on topics ranging from international politics to dance routines. In recent months, its popularity exploded, particularly with teenagers and it has been downloaded more than a billion times around the world.

But President Trump claims China is able to use the app to track the locations of federal employees, collect information for use in blackmail, or spy on companies.

The growth of mobile apps owned and developed by Chinese firms “threatens the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States”, Mr Trump says.

In his executive order, he claims: “This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”

TikTok says it has never handed over any US data user to Chinese government and authorities.

Mr Trump’s actions against WeChat and TikTok are the latest in a growing campaign against China ahead of the US presidential election in November.

He has been waging a trade war against China since taking office.

The United States is not the only country to introduce blocks on TikTok. India has already banned the app, and Australia is also considering taking action.

WeChat is very popular with users who have connections to China, where major social networking platforms – such as Facebook and WhatsApp – are blocked.

The app also viewed as being a key instrument in China’s internal surveillance apparatus – requiring local users who have been accused of spreading malicious rumours to register a facial scan and voice print.

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