WeChat Group and TikTok Are Suing the Trump Administration Over App Bans

WeChat Group and TikTok Are Suing the Trump Administration Over App Bans

August 24, 2020
The United States government is facing lawsuits over
Trump’s ban: On August 6, Trump ordered Americans and U.S. companies not to conduct business with the companies behind the popular apps, citing “national security” concerns.
  • Trump alleged that TikTok is a “national emergency” as it can be used by the Chinese Communist Party for its benefit.
  • He said the U.S. “must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.”
  • Trump similarly accused WeChat of capturing “vast swaths of information from its users.” 
  • He said that WeChat’s collected data “allows the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.“
  • The order, which affects TikTok, its parent company ByteDance, WeChat and its parent company Tencent Holdings, is set to take effect on September 20.
Subscribe to
NextShark's Newsletter

A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.

Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.

Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.

TikTok’s response: Following weeks of rumors, TikTok confirmed on Saturday that it is responding to the order with a lawsuit against the Trump administration.
  • TikTok spokesman Josh Gartner said the company has been trying to engage with the administration for almost a year so they may arrive at a “constructive solution.”
  • “What we encountered instead was a lack of due process as the administration paid no attention to facts and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses,” Gartner told The Verge.
  • According to Gartner, they are forced to  challenge the executive order through the judicial system “to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly.”
Alliance of WeChat users: Nonprofit U.S. WeChat Users Alliance as well as other individual users filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government in San Francisco on Friday, reports The Wall Street Journal.
  • Based on court documents, the plaintiffs fear that Trump’s executive order would effectively prohibit them from accessing the messaging app. 
  • Many of them say that they rely on the app for work, worship or communicating with their loved ones in China.
  • According to the plaintiffs, such a ban is a violation of their freedom of speech, free exercise of religion and other constitutional rights.
Online gaming company Tencent launched WeChat as an instant messaging app in 2011 but has since evolved into a multi-featured app used by over a billion users worldwide. Meanwhile, ByteDance launched the short video-sharing app TikTok in 2016. According to estimates, the app now has over 800 million global users.
Feature Image via Getty
      Ryan General

      Ryan General is a Senior Reporter for NextShark




      Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.

      Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.

      We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.

      © 2023 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.