LOS ANGELES – The Chinese-owned video app TikTok sued the federal government Monday in Los Angeles, alleging President Donald Trump’s efforts to stop the company from doing business in the United States violates its right to due process.
Trump’s executive order on Aug. 6 cited national security concerns, accusing the social media network — which maintains its principle U.S. offices in Culver City — of threatening the “foreign policy and economy of the United States.”
Trump said that TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance, poses a threat due to its ties to China. The executive order banned transactions with the app within 45 days. A second executive order issued a week later gave ByteDance 90 days to divest from its American assets and any data that TikTok had gathered in the United States.
A message requesting comment sent to the U.S. Department of Commerce — named along with Trump and the department’s secretary as defendants in the suit — was not immediately answered.
TikTok alleges that there is no connection between the video-sharing platform and the Chinese government.
Key personnel responsible for TikTok, including its CEO, chief security officer and general counsel, are all Americans based in the United States, and not subject to Chinese law, according to the company’s 39-page complaint, which also states that the app’s content is managed by a U.S.-based team “which operates independently from China.”
According to the suit, the government is aware of the measures TikTok has taken “to protect the privacy and security of TikTok’s U.S. user data,” including having TikTok store such data outside of China, and by “erecting software barriers” to help ensure that TikTok maintain its U.S. user data separately from that of other ByteDance products.
The plaintiff alleges that Trump’s executive order ignores the company’s right to due process.
“By banning TikTok with no notice or opportunity to be heard — whether before or after the fact — the executive order violates the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment” and is a “misuse” of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, which allows the president to regulate economic transactions in a national emergency, according to the lawsuit.