TikTok issued a response to President Donald Trump's recently-signed executive order effectively banning the popular social media app in the event that its parent company -- the Beijing, China-based firm ByteDance -- doesn't sell off its United States operations in the next 45 days. In a new release shared on the official TikTok web site on Friday, the company stated that it was "shocked" by Trump's directive and further stated that it could pursue legal action in an American court as recourse.
"This Executive Order risks undermining global businesses' trust in the United States' commitment to the rule of law, which has served as a magnet for investment and spurred decades of American economic growth. And it sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of free expression and open markets," the statement read. "We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly – if not by the Administration, then by the U.S. courts."
As shared earlier this week by The Inquisitr, the president's executive order stated that TikTok automatically captures large swaths of personal data, including location info and browsing habits/search history. Trump believes that this allows the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to access the personal information of U.S. citizens, which could allow for the tracking of Federal employees and contractors and enable the CCP to build dossiers for the purpose of blackmail and corporate espionage.
In its statement, TikTok rebuffed the notion that it had ever shared its user data with the Chinese government. It further denied having ever engaged in the censorship of content at the CCP's request. TikTok's moderation guidelines and algorithm source code are both available in the app's Transparency Center as well, according to the release.
ByteDance is currently negotiating with Microsoft on a deal that would allow the service to continue to function in the U.S. According to Politico, the tech giant behind the Windows operating system hopes to close the deal by September 15. Per Trump's order, the American TikTok ban would go into effect on September 20 in the event that the sale does not go through.
President Trump issued a similar directive regarding the app WeChat and the Shenzhen, China-based Tencent. As relayed by The Inquisitr, it could unintentionally make a number of popular video games illegal in America, including PUBG, League of Legends and Fortnite.