Trump Administration Facing TikTok Lawsuit

Tensions rising between app company and U.S. officials . . . 

TikTok, a video-sharing app, has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration weeks after President Donald Trump set a mid-September deadline for the app to find a U.S. buyer or be banned from the U.S. market. The lawsuit is TikTok’s response to the escalating tensions with American officials who suspect that TikTok is a national security threat since it is owned by a Beijing-based internet company, ByteDance. This month alone, Trump has issued two executive orders seeking to hasten TikTok’s sale.

Politicized ban?

TikTok claims the ban is “highly politicized” and that Trump did not provide a fair chance for the company to counter accusations that it poses a risk to U.S. national security. TikTok also claims that Trump’s executive orders are illegal, as they hinge on an emergency powers law, which does not apply to the app. TikTok said that it realizes the seriousness of suing the U.S. government, but also says it has “no choice but to take action to protect our rights, and the rights of our community and employees.” In an attempt to demonstrate its commitment to its U.S. operations, the company also mentioned plans to hire 10,000 more workers in the U.S., on top of the 1,500 people it already employs there.

Possible delay . . .

The lawsuit is TikTok’s last-resort attempt to challenge President Trump’s imposed deadline of a TikTok sale by mid-September. But the political environment in North America might become more favourable for the company with the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections. If TikTok is successful in delaying President Trump’s executive order for a few more months, it could live to fight another day under a different administration, assuming a Biden Administration would be more favourable. It is not clear what position Canada will take, but the recent election of a new leader of the Conservative Party adds another layer to the issue.