TikTok and users of WeChat sue Trump administration over app bans

Tyrone Stewart

TikTok and WeChat, via a group of its users, are suing the Trump administration over executive orders that would see both apps banned in the US within the next month.

On 6 August, Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders that would prevent any US individual or company from doing business, defined by the Secretary of Commerce, with TikTok’s owner ByteDance or WeChat’s owner Tencent. This was followed by another order a week later which gave ByteDance 90 days to divest the US business of TikTok, which the company is currently in discussions with Microsoft and Oracle over.

In a statement to CNBC, following a Reuters report, TikTok said: “Even though we strongly disagree with the Administration’s concerns, for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide a constructive solution. What we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the Administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.

“To ensure that the rule of law prevails and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the Executive Order through the judicial system.”

TikTok’s legal case is only focused on the 6 August executive order, meaning ByteDance would still need to hand over its US operations in the next few months.

The WeChat case, which is filed in the federal court of San Francisco, is being led by the US WeChat Users Alliance – a coalition of WeChat users in the US.

The complaint accuses the ban of being a breach of the users’ free speech rights under the First Amendment, claims that the ban is unfairly targeting Chinese-Americans, and suggests that Donald Trump has overstepped his national emergency powers, reports the Financial Times.