TikTok plans to challenge Trump’s ban amid some scepticism

Decision to file a lawsuit follows a year of failed efforts to seek a solution, company says

by Reuters
TikTok plans to challenge Trump’s ban amid some scepticism
The TikTok logo. AFP file photo.

After a year of trying in vain, ByteDance the parent of TikTok, the beleaguered short-video app, has finally decided to file a lawsuit against President Donald Trump's executive order banning the popular short video app in the US, ByteDance announced on Saturday.

Although ByteDance didn’t say which court it plans to use, Reuters said the lawsuit could be filed as early as Monday (late today Asian time).

TikTok said it had tried to engage with the US administration for nearly a year, but faced "a lack of due process" and that the government paid no attention to the facts.

"To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the executive order through the judicial system," the company said in a statement .

TikTok's owner ByteDance issued a separate statement on Sunday saying it will officially file a lawsuit against Trump administration on Monday August 24.

Read more: US lawyers challenge WeChat ban

Trump issued an executive order on August 14 that gave ByteDance 90 days to divest the US operations of TikTok. ByteDance has been making progress in talks with potential acquirers, including Microsoft Corp and Oracle. Some of ByteDance's US investors could also join the winning bid.

While TikTok is best known for its anodyne videos of people dancing and going viral among teenagers, US officials have expressed concerns that information on users could be passed on to China's government.

Long shot

While the White House has not yet reacted to the announcement, many analysts see the decision to challenge Donald Trump’s order is set to trigger a legal battle that could promises little chance of success.

Jerry Fang Jinawei, a partner at Zhong Lun law firm which practises in both China and the US, commented on South China Morning Post, that TikTok faced “an uphill struggle” in its legal battle but it “might present an opportunity for TikTok to continue its services to its US users”.