Video-sharing social networking company TikTok on Monday filed a lawsuit against U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration over an executive order banning any U.S. transactions with its Chinese parent company ByteDance.
In the 39-page indictment acquired by Xinhua, Trump, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the Department of Commerce (DOC) were listed as defendants. In regard to Trump’s suggestion of ByteDance paying a fee to the U.S. government for facilitating a deal to sell TikTok to a U.S. company, TikTok’s indictment also said that the president’s demands for payments “have no relationship to any conceivable national security concern.”
Since last year, U.S. authorities have repeatedly accused TikTok of being a potential threat to U.S. national security. U.S. officials alleged that the company, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, could pass on data it collects from Americans’ streaming videos to the Chinese government, a claim rejectd by TikTok, which said it has never been asked to do so.
According to the Los Angeles-based company, key personnel responsible for TikTok are all Americans based in the United States, while TikTok’s U.S. content moderation is likewise led by a U.S.-based team and operates independently from China, and the popular application stores U.S. user data on servers located in the United States and Singapore.
— On Aug. 6, Trump signed an executive order blocking all transactions with ByteDance in an effort to “address the national emergency.” However, The New York Times reported on Aug. 7 that even the Central Intelligence Agency assessed that there is no evidence that China had intercepted TikTok’s data or used the app to intrude on users’ mobile phones.The order was to take effect within 45 days.
— On Aug. 14, the president signed another executive order, this time giving ByteDance 90 days to sell or spin off TikTok in the United States.
— On Aug. 17, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said in response that the so-called “freedom” and “security” are merely excuses for the “digital gunboat policy” pursued by some U.S. politicians.
— On Saturday, TikTok confirmed that it will file a lawsuit against the Trump administration. ByteDance announced later that the lawsuit would be delivered on Monday.
— On Monday, Zhao told the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s daily briefing that China supports relevant companies in taking up legal weapons to safeguard their legitimate rights and interests, and will continue to take all necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legal rights and interests of Chinese companies. Enditem