TikTok asks court to intervene as Trump order looms

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2020 photo shows the icon for TikTok taken in New York. Privacy watchdogs say that the popular TikTok video app is violating a children’s privacy law and putting kids at risk. They filed a complaint saying TikTok is collecting personal information of kids under 13 without their parents’ consent, even after a $5.7 million FTC fine in 2019 over child-privacy law violations. Photo: AP Photo. FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2020 photo shows the icon for TikTok taken in New York. Privacy watchdogs say that the popular TikTok video app is violating a children’s privacy law and putting kids at risk. They filed a complaint saying TikTok is collecting personal information of kids under 13 without their parents’ consent, even after a $5.7 million FTC fine in 2019 over child-privacy law violations.

Associated Press
Created: November 11, 2020 07:35 PM

The popular video-sharing app TikTok, its future in limbo since President Donald Trump tried to shut it down earlier this fall, is asking a federal court to intervene.

TikTok's Chinese owner, ByteDance, has until Thursday to sell off its U.S. operations under an executive order that Trump signed in August.

Trump in September gave his tentative blessing to a ByteDance proposal meant to resolve U.S. 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 department "remains focused" on resolving the alleged national security risks posed by TikTok, a Treasury spokeswoman said in a statement Wednesday evening.

"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.


(Copyright 2020 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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