TikTok spokesman Josh Gartner told The Verge:
“Even though we strongly disagree with the administration’s concerns, for nearly a year we have sought to engage in good faith to provide 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. To ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and users are treated fairly, we have no choice but to challenge the Executive Order through the judicial system.”
At present, Microsoft is negotiating a potential purchase of TikTok’s US operations as per Trump’s directive, though how plausible this is for ByteDance to actually do remains unclear.
The app has been downloaded over 2 billion times globally and relies on a global algorithm. If ByteDance were to agree to break TikTok into regional businesses to sell, its reliance on a centralised algorithm is likely to cause some technical headaches.
Trump initially signed an order stopping ByteDance from making any “transactions”, citing security concerns. This came along with a similar order against Chinese app WeChat, owned by Tencent. Since these two executive orders it is thought the US government has slowly realised how much banning WeChat would actually affect the US given Tencent has stakes in US companies like Snapchat, and WeChat itself is used all over the country.