Over the course of the last few weeks, a strange story has emerged at the crossroads of politics and social media, and it could have profound implications for the digital world moving forward.
It all began when President Donald Trump warned the Chinese company behind the TikTok video sharing application that they faced expulsion from the US market after it was discovered that the data collected by the program was possibly being used inappropriately by the Chinese government. Trump then pushed to have Microsoft buy TikTok, stating that if the deal was not complete in 45 days that the service would be effectively banned in the US.
Then, just this week, Trump signed an executive order that would make it impossible for the app to exist in the American market by banning US transactions with the company. This meant that, as the app updated itself, US users would be left out of the updates, effectively rendering TikTok useless in a matter of time.
The company behind TikTok is now suing the Trump administration.
TikTok is planning to sue the Trump administration, challenging the president’s executive order banning the service from the United States.
The video-sharing app hugely popular with the smartphone generation will file the federal lawsuit as soon as Tuesday, according to a person who was directly involved in the forthcoming suit but was not authorized to speak for the company. It will be filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, where TikTok’s American operations are based, the person said.
NPR has learned that the lawsuit will argue that President Trump’s far-reaching action is unconstitutional because it failed to give the company a chance to respond. It also alleges that the administration’s national security justification for the order is baseless, according to the source.
“It’s based on pure speculation and conjecture,” the source said. “The order has no findings of fact, just reiterates rhetoric about China that has been kicking around.”
Trump’s actions against TikTok come after years of criticism regarding China’s near-constant theft of US intellectual property – something that Trump himself has railed against repeatedly in the past.
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