TikTok ban: Video app asks for help from court as Trump decision hangs in the balance

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 11 November 2020 17:20 GMT
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TikTok has asked a court to help decide its status as the threat of a ban continues to loom.

Donald Trump had insisted he would have the app banned, accusing it of being a national security risk and being dangerously close to the Chinese government.

The deadline for a solution to those problems to be find will arrive on Thursday, and a proposal for TikTok's US operations to be sold off has been established in recent months.

But the company says that despite that ban being near, its status is still unclear.

Mr Trump in September gave his tentative blessing to a ByteDance proposal meant to resolve US national security concerns by placing TikTok under the oversight of American companies Oracle and Walmart, each of which would also have a financial stake in the company. But TikTok said this week it's received "no clarity" from the U.S. government about whether its proposals have been accepted.

The deal has been under a national-security review by the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS, which is led by the Treasury Department. The Treasury Department didn't return emailed requests for comment this week.

"With the November 12 CFIUS deadline imminent and without an extension in hand, we have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights and those of our more than 1,500 employees in the US," TikTok said in a written statement Tuesday.

Trump has cited concerns that the Chinese government could spy on TikTok users if the app remains under Chinese ownership. TikTok has denied it's a security threat but said it's still trying to work with the administration to resolve its concerns.

The legal challenge is "a protection to ensure these discussions can take place," the company said.

The Trump administration had earlier sought to ban the app from smartphone app stores and deprive it of vital technical services, but federal judges have so far blocked those actions.

TikTok is now looking to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review Trump's divestment order and the government's national-security review.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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