Tiktok has filed a legal petition challenging an order made by outgoing US President Donald Trump that would force the viral video app to sell its US business by tomorrow.
In August Bytedance, the social media firm’s parent company, was given 90 days to divest its US operations due to concerns about national security. The deadline is due to expire on Thursday.
But the Chinese tech firm last night filed a petition with the US Court of Appeals arguing that the divestment order was unlawful and violated its constitutional rights.
Bytedance, which has always denied that data belonging to its users could be passed to authorities in Beijing, also said it was requesting a 30-day extension to the divestment deadline so it could finalise the terms of a sale.
“In the nearly two months since the president gave his preliminary approval to our proposal to satisfy those concerns, we have offered detailed solutions to finalise that agreement — but have received no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework,” Tiktok said in a statement.
“Without an extension in hand, we have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights.”
Bytedance has secured a preliminary agreement with both Oracle and Walmart to form a new company that would oversee Tiktok’s US operations.
But the proposed deal has hit stumbling blocks over the proposed ownership structure of the new entity.
Bytedance said it has tabled a fourth proposal that would see the spin-off company wholly owned by Oracle, Walmart and existing US investors in Bytedance. It would handle all of Tiktok’s US data and content moderation.
In its court filing, the company said it would file a motion to stay Trump’s divestment order “only if discussions reach an impasse and the government indicates an intent to take action to enforce the order”.
Bytedance will be hoping that president-elect Joe Biden will take a less aggressive approach towards the Chinese-owned video app than his predecessor.
However, a 30-day extension to the order would still fall short of Biden’s inauguration on 20 January.