On Thursday, the White House issued an executive order banning TikTok from doing business with US companies for 45 days.
The order states that “the dissemination in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies of the People’s Republic of China continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
This is the reason given by the US government to “take action to address the threat posed by a particular mobile application, TikTok.”
Following the executive order, TikTok has issued a public statement in response to US government claims such as “these risks are real” and “this mobile application can also be used for disinformation that benefits the Chinese Communist Party. “
This is the statement issued by TikTok:
TikTok is a community full of creativity and passion, a home that entertains families and that creates and offers valuable careers to creators. We continue to build the future of TikTok and will be in America for many years to come.
We are surprised by the Executive Order that was recently issued by the United States without following the usual procedure. For almost a year, we have tried to work in good faith with the United States government to provide a constructive solution to the concerns they have raised.
Instead, what we found was that the United States Administration did not pay attention to the facts, and dictated the terms of an agreement, without going through the corresponding legal procedures, and tried to get involved in the negotiations carried out between private companies .
We have made clear our intentions to work with the appropriate US officials to come up with a solution that benefits our users, creators, partners, employees, and the US TikTok community.
There has not been, nor is there, any legal process or adherence to the law. The decision document made by the US Administration makes clear that there have been resorted to “reports” without names or quotes, unsubstantiated fears that the application “could” be used for disinformation campaigns, and concerns about the collection of data that is the industry standard for thousands of mobile applications around the world.
We have made it clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor has it censored content at their request. In fact, we make our moderation guidelines and algorithm source code available in our Transparency Center, which brings a level of responsibility that no other company of this size has ever had. We have even expressed our willingness to seek the complete sale of our business in the United States to an American company.
This Executive Order risks undermining global business confidence in America’s commitment to the rule of law, which has served as an investment magnet and spurred American economic growth for decades. Furthermore, this situation sets a dangerous precedent for the concept of freedom of expression and freedom of the market.
We will use all available resources at our disposal to ensure that the rule of law is not abandoned and that our company and our users are treated fairly, if not by management, then by the courts of the United States.
We want the 100 million Americans who love our platform because it is their place to express themselves, be entertained, and connect to know that TikTok has never wavered, and will never waver, in our commitment to you.
We prioritize the safety and trust of our community, always. As TikTok users, creators, partners, and family members, you have the right to express your views to elected representatives, including the White House. You have the right to be heard.
This situation reminds us of a lot of the one experienced by Huawei, which has also been accused by Trump without any evidence that has been made public. Huawei suffers a veto that prohibits the company from doing business with American companies and, in fact, American operators are prohibited from using Huawei telecommunications equipment.
The US government has not offered Huawei or TikTok an opportunity to defend themselves or address security concerns. Without a doubt, Instagram chose the perfect time to launch its new feature “Reels” which comes to be a copy of TikTok.