Chinese short video app, TikTok has been at the center of controversies in recent times. The company is currently facing a possible ban in the U.S. and it is left with one option. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance has to sell the U.S. arm of TikTok to an American company or face a ban. While it is in discussions with Microsoft, there are other salient potential American buyers. According to U.S. president, Donald Trump, ByteDance have until September 15th to sell TikTok. This afternoon, ByteDance issued a statement on the executive order of the US government.
According to the statement, ByteDance is questioning the US government’s executive order. The company says that the allegations against it are unproven. It also believes that there is no substantive basis for the concern that this application “may” be used for false propaganda activities. According to ByteDance, TikTok’s questionable data collection behavior is a common practice in thousands of mobile apps around the world. ByteDance statement in part reads
“We have made it clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government. TikTok has not even reviewed content upon request. In fact, we have disclosed our review policy and algorithm source code by establishing a Transparency Center. No technology company of the same type has fulfill this responsibility…”
ByteDance may go to an American court
ByteDance believes that this US executive order will undermine the trust of global companies. The order set a dangerous precedent that violates the freedom of expression and open markets. TikTok reiterates that it is even ready to sell its U.S. business to an American company. However, it believes that it is not getting fair treatment and it may have to resort to the U.S. court.
“We will make every effort to take all feasible measures to ensure that the rule of law is not abandoned, and our company and users are treated fairly. If the US government cannot give us fair treatment, we will resort to US courts.”
TikTok has about 100 million active monthly users in the U.S. For 100 million American users, TikTok is their home where they are free to express themselves, entertain, and connect with each other. The company claims that its user safety comes first.
While going to the American court is the right thing to do, it is most likely a futile battle. Obviously, the American government is forcing TikTok to give up its business in the U.S. This is not a common international practice and could set a new precedent for other governments.