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TikTok sues Trump administration over executive order

TikTok sues Trump administration over executive order
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TikTok announced Monday that it is suing the Trump administration over its executive order aimed at banning the short-form video app from the country.

"The administration ignored our extensive efforts to address its concerns, which we conducted fully and in good faith,” the company said in a press release announcing the suit. “We do not take suing the government lightly, however we feel we have no choice but to take action to protect our rights, and the rights of our community and employees.” 

Trump signed two executive orders earlier this month compelling ByteDance, the China-based company that owns TikTok, to sell off its American assets, arguing that its ties to China pose a security threat.

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The first order, signed Aug. 6, would ban transactions with the app within 45 days. The second order, signed a week later, gave ByteDance 90 days to divest.

Monday's lawsuit argues that the Trump administration failed to provide evidence for TikTok being a national security threat in the first of the two orders.

"As the U.S. government is well aware, Plaintiffs have taken extraordinary measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok’s U.S. user data, including by having TikTok store such data outside of China (in the United States and Singapore) and by erecting software barriers that help ensure that TikTok stores its U.S. user data separately from the user data of other ByteDance products," the complaint reads.

TikTok filed the lawsuit in the Federal District Court for the Central District of California. The company announced its intention to sue this past weekend.

The lawsuit also challenges Trump’s deployment of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which gives the president broad authority to regulate international commerce.

The power is meant to be reserved for cases involving "an unusual and extraordinary threat," a standard which TikTok claims has not been met.

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"The order is ultra vires because it is not based on a bona fide national emergency and authorizes the prohibition of activities that have not been found to pose 'an unusual and extraordinary threat’,” the lawsuit reads.

Microsoft has emerged as a favorite to purchase ByteDance’s U.S. operations, with the company and TikTok both confirming that negotiations are ongoing.

Last week, it was reported that Oracle has also been exploring a deal.

Trump has voiced support for both companies’ efforts to acquire TikTok.

The White House referred questions about the lawsuit to the Justice Department, which declined to comment.
 
--This report was updated at 1:04 p.m.