TikTok confirms legal challenge to US President Trump’s executive order

Under fire viral video app TikTok has confirmed it will take the United States government to court over an executive order that would ban the app from one of its biggest markets.

TikTok doesn’t operate in China (an identical app from the same developers does) and has already been banned in India, making the United States its biggest potential market.

Earlier this month TikTok was “shocked” by an executive order from US President Donald Trump which the social media platform argued was “issued without any due process”.

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“For nearly a year, we have sought to engage with the US government in good faith to provide a constructive solution to the concerns that have been expressed.

“What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses,” TikTok said in a statement following the executive order.

But now the company has upped the ante.

“To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the Executive Order through the judicial system,” a TikTok spokesperson told US media on Saturday.

The executive order is due to take effect on September 20.

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A separate order also called for Chinese developer Bytedance to divest from TikTok.

Microsoft, Oracle and Twitter are among American companies that have expressed interest in the surging social media app.

Around the same time the executive order was announced, competitor Facebook rolled out a copycat feature called Instagram Reels, which it also introduced to India shortly after TikTok was banned there, and is now available in most markets around the world.

Reels mimics TikTok in almost every way except the one that matters most.

TikTok’s recommendation algorithm has been one of the biggest contributors to its success as it quickly learns individual user’s viewing preferences so it can continue serving them up content they can’t look away from.

Mr Trump used powers under the US’ International Emergency Economic Powers Act to enact the executive order.

The act gives the President power to regulate economic transactions during national emergencies.

The New York Times has reported the act has previously been used to sanction foreign governments, terrorists, drug kingpins and individual hackers, but it’s never been used against a technology company before.

The outlet also reported past administrations have been cautious in their use of the act because legal challenges like the one being undertaken by TikTok could curtail presidential powers.

In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said there’s no evidence to ban the app from operating here.

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