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TikTok disappointed with latest decision from U.S. Commerce Department

Los Angeles, US | XINHUA | Video-sharing social networking platform TikTok said Friday that it felt disappointed with the decision announced by the the U.S. Commerce Department blocking the download and update of the company’s popular application starting Sunday.

“We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the U.S. from November 12,” a TikTok representative said in a statement acquired by Xinhua.

“Our community of 100 million U.S. users love TikTok because it’s a home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection,” the Los Angeles-based tech company said, “and we’re committed to protecting their privacy and safety as we continue working to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform.”

The Commerce Department said Friday that as of Sunday, any moves to distribute or maintain TikTok on app stores such as Apple Store and Google Play will be prohibited, and a more extensive ban against the app would be applied from Nov. 12.

Business insiders said that, under Friday’s decision, TikTok’s users who had already downloaded the app may continue using it, but they will not be able to download updated versions from Sunday.

According to the company, as of June, the total number of TikTok’s monthly active users in the country soared to 91,937,040, and based on quarterly usage, 100 million Americans used the app.

Meanwhile, the White House was reported weighing a proposal raised by TikTok on Monday, which the company believes “would resolve the Administration’s security concerns.”

Oracle, an American multinational computer technology corporation headquartered in California, confirmed in a statement on Monday that it reached a deal with TikTok’s Chinese parent, ByteDance, to be the latter’s U.S. trusted partner.

So far, no details about the proposal has been exposed.

U.S. President Donald Trump and some U.S. politicians have repeatedly expressed speculation that TikTok poses a national security threat to the country, though no evidence has been provided to support the allegations.

On Aug. 6, Trump issued an executive order banning U.S. transactions with ByteDance, citing the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. The ban will take effect on Sept. 20.

On Aug. 14, he signed a second executive order that will force ByteDance to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business within 90 days.

As the clock is ticking for the bans to take effect, U.S. investors involved in the deal, including Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, backed Oracle’s bid for TikTok as the tech firm has strong political connections to Trump, according to the Business Insider website.

TikTok sued the U.S. administration to block the order issued on Aug. 6, arguing it is unconstitutional. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and the Department of Commerce were listed as defendants in the 39-page indictment.

United States District Court for the Central District of California, located in Los Angeles, accepted TikTok’s claim on Aug. 24, but there is no schedule for hearing.

“We cannot at this point predict the outcome of the litigation with certainty, a U.S. court will be reluctant to rule against the President on an issue of national security,” Dan Roules, the managing partner of the Shanghai Office of Squire Patton Boggs, told Xinhua last month.

Roules is a business lawyer who focuses on helping Chinese companies understand and cope with legal, political, and other issues while investing abroad. He has spent his entire career at Squire Patton Boggs, one of the 30 largest law firms in the world.

The veteran lawyer, who has been working in China during the past 25 years, said the TikTok case would be a “wake-up” call to Chinese companies and the global internet industry.

“Even if the U.S. wins the litigation, there is some risk that the U.S. government will be perceived by the global industry to have acted arbitrarily against ByteDance/TikTok. That could have longer term repercussions for the industry in the U.S. and make other foreign investors more hesitant,” he said.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, an American photo and video sharing social networking service owned by Facebook, said Friday that the latest decision is a bad news for the global internet industry.

“A US TikTok ban would be quite bad for Instagram, Facebook, and the internet more broadly,” he tweeted Friday morning. Vanessa Pappas, interim CEO of TikTok, echoed Mosseri’s remarks one hour later.

“We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry. We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law,” Pappas tweeted.

“If you’re skeptical keep in mind that most of the people who use Instagram are outside the US, as is most of our potential growth. The long term costs of moods countries making aggressive demands and banning us over the next decade outweigh slowing down one competitor today,” Mosseri posted a new message on his official Twitter page.

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