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TikTok sues over Trump executive order that would ban the app in the U.S.

While TikTok is unlikely to win a legal victory, the lawsuit could extend the time it has to strike a deal with one of its American suitors.
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump listens during a media briefing in the James Brady Briefing Room of the White House on Aug. 23, 2020.Alex Brandon / AP

TikTok is pushing back against President Donald Trump.

The Chinese-owned social media company filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government Monday, challenging the president's executive order that bans U.S. companies from doing business with the app and its parent company, ByteDance, on national security grounds.

The lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, claims that the Trump administration failed to follow due process when it ordered the ban, and that it never provided evidence that TikTok posed a security threat.

"The Administration failed to follow due process and act in good faith, neither providing evidence that TikTok was an actual threat, nor justification for its punitive actions," the company said in a statement. "We believe the Administration's decisions were heavily politicized, and industry experts have said the same."

TikTok's challenge to the president comes as major tech companies such as Microsoft and Oracle and other private investors are pursuing an acquisition of TikTok's U.S. business, as well as its businesses in Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Trump's executive order established Sept. 15 as the deadline for a sale, after which TikTok would be cut off in the United States.

TikTok's lawsuit does not challenge a separate order by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which states that ByteDance must divest its U.S. assets by Nov. 12.

While TikTok is unlikely to win a legal victory against the administration, the lawsuit could at the very least extend the time it has to strike a deal with one of its American suitors.

In recent months, U.S. lawmakers and Trump administration officials have argued that the Chinese government could use its power over TikTok and other Chinese software services to access American user data. TikTok has repeatedly argued that it protects all U.S. user data and stores that data on servers outside of China.