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TikTok suing Trump administration over executive order

App says in blogpost it strongly disagrees with White House position that it is a national security threat

TikTok, the fast-growing video sharing app, announced it was suing the US government on Monday over an executive order banning transactions with the Chinese company in the US.

In a blogpost, TikTok said it strongly disagreed with the White House’s position that the company was a national security threat, saying it had “taken extraordinary measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok’s US user data”.

The company said the administration has ignored its “extensive efforts” to address its concerns. “We do not take suing the government lightly,” TikTok said. “But with the executive order threatening to bring a ban on our US operations … we simply have no choice.”

TikTok, which is owned by China-based ByteDance, announced over the weekend it planned to challenge the ban and said it “strongly disagreed” with concerns raised by Trump and an executive order issued on 6 August that set in motion a 45-day period for TikTok to find a buyer for its US operations.

The company said it was “shocked” by the order, which it said was issued “without any due process”. A subsequent executive order provided a 90-day deadline for the transaction to be completed.

Over the past month several US tech companies, including Microsoft, Twitter and Oracle, have expressed interest or announced talks with ByteDance to acquire some TikTok’s operations outside China. None have indicated that a deal is close to being reached.

The move coincides with the first day of the Republican national convention, which is likely to prominently feature the president’s “tough on China” re-election platform.

“We are coming hard at the China virus,” Peter Navarro, White House trade adviser, told Fox News Sunday, adding that Americans are “going to hear from Donald J Trump is how we are going to fight China and the China virus”.

That prompted a sharp response from China’s foreign ministry, which said today that some American politicians had “attempted to strangle” TikTok, WeChat, Huawei Technologies and other Chinese companies.

“China supports the relevant Chinese companies using legal weapons to safeguard their legitimate rights,” said Zhao Lijian, ministry spokesman. He said that US efforts to decouple US and China’s trade links “to solve one country’s own problem are like ‘drinking poison to quench thirst'”.

TikTok, which has…

Edward Helmore

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