TikTok shocked at Trump's executive order, threatens legal action

The TikTok logo on a smartphone

In a statement issued by TikTok, the firm has said it’s shocked that the Trump administration has signed an executive order that’ll ban transactions with it and WeChat in 45 days. The firm has repeatedly dismissed the allegation that it feeds information back to the Chinese government and that it’s willing to take legal action over Trump’s executive order.

TikTok published an account of what it has been doing in the last year to work with the American government in order to continue operations in the country. It said:

“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 US 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.”

TikTok re-iterated that it doesn’t share user data with the Chinese government and does not censor content at its request. It pointed to the moderation guidelines and algorithm source code that is available in its Transparency Center as proof that it does not collaborate with China on these matters. It said that this level of transparency has not been committed to by any “peer company”.

According to TikTok, the new executive order risks undermining businesses’ trust in the United States and its commitment to the rule of law because this action has not been subject to due process. It said that the U.S. is also risking its reputation for promoting free expression and open markets. The next step for TikTok will be to seek legal action. As legal cases can take a while to conclude, TikTok will no doubt be hoping that the current administration’s term ends before it manages to boot TikTok out of the U.S. market.

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