TikTok has slammed President Donald Trump’s executive order — which bans the app in the US unless it is bought by an American company — as “undermining the rule of law.”
“We are shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process,” the company wrote in a statement published on its website Friday morning. “For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed. 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.”
Trump’s order issued on Thursday night bars anyone “subject to the jurisdiction of the United States” from carrying out transactions with ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, which is based in Beijing. The order says that TikTok “automatically” captures “vast swathes of information from its users,” and could be used by China’s authoritarian government to influence Americans and compromise their privacy.
It also says that TikTok “reportedly censors” content like the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghur Muslims and “sensitive” videos like protests. “[TikTok] may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus,” the order reads.
In its letter, TikTok disputes these claims and said that they rely on “unnamed ‘reports’ with no citations” or “substantiation.” The company also said that it does not share data with the Chinese government.
“This Executive Order 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,” TikTok’s letter says. “And it sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets. 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.”
TikTok has been under global scrutiny for its links to China. Last week, President Trump said that the United States would ban the app citing national security concerns around ByteDance.
Since then, the President has changed his mind and said that TikTok would be allowed to function in the US as long as an American company bought its operations in the country and the United States got a “substantial portion” of the sale price.
Earlier this week, tech giant Microsoft confirmed in a blog post that it was in talks to buy TikTok, and would close negotiations by September 15.