TikTok, a Chinese social media company, filed a complaint in federal court in Washington, DC, Friday to block the US ban on TikTok. In its complaint, TikTok requested that the court prevent the enforcement of the ban and declare the ban unlawful and unconstitutional.
TikTok cited the following reasons to support the court block enforcement and deeming the ban unconstitutional:
• The Prohibitions banning TikTok are arbitrary and capricious because the Department of Commerce ignored evidence of Plaintiffs’ commitment to the
privacy and security of TikTok’s U.S. users, failed to consider reasonable and significant mitigation alternatives proposed by Plaintiffs, based its decision on purported justifications that are incongruent with what the record reveals about the agency’s priorities and decision-making process, and attempted to implement an executive order that is in excess of its statutory authority and unlawful.
• By preventing TikTok from operating in the United States, the TikTok ban violates TikTok Inc.’s First Amendment rights, because TikTok Inc. is among the speakers whose expression the ban threatens to prohibit. TikTok Inc. uses TikTok to create and share messages about a variety of issues and current events. The TikTok ban also violates TikTok Inc.’s First Amendment rights in its code, an expressive means of communication.
• By prohibiting TikTok from operating in the United States without providing Plaintiffs notice or opportunity to be heard (whether before or after the fact), the TikTok ban violates the due process protections of the Fifth Amendment.
• The TikTok ban is [beyond the president’s authority] because it is not based on a bona fide national emergency and authorizes the prohibition of activities that have not been found to pose “an unusual and extraordinary threat.”
• The TikTok ban is [beyond the president’s authority] because it restricts personal communications and the transmission of information and informational materials, in direct violation of IEEPA.
• Concluding that the TikTok ban is [beyond the president’s authority] is also necessary to avoid a serious constitutional question because if the ban were found to satisfy IEEPA, then the President’s overbroad and unjustified claim of authority in this matter demonstrates that IEEPA lacks any intelligible principle to guide or constrain the President’s discretion and thereby violates the non-delegation doctrine.
• To the extent that the President continues to demand that Plaintiffs make a payment to the U.S. Treasury as a condition for the sale of TikTok, the President would be taking Plaintiffs’ property without compensation in violation of the Fifth Amendment. On Saturday, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross postponed the ban enforcement to from September 20th to September 27th. India banned TikTok on June 29th.
US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on August 6 to sanction and eventually ban TikTok and WeChat, another Chinese social media platform. The president cited security concerns over censorship and the social media platforms sharing users’ personal information with the Chinese Communist Party. On Saturday, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross postponed the ban enforcement to from September 20 to September 27.
Following the executive order, TikTok filed suit in a federal court in California. However, the company dropped the suit in favor of the one it has recently filed in DC. WeChat filed a similar suit in August in a California federal court. The court stayed the ban Saturday for WeChat until the suit is fully decided.