TikTok and its employees to fight app ban

Updated 15 Aug 2020

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Trump last week ordered sweeping but vague bans on dealings with the Chinese owners of TikTok and messaging app WeChat. — Reuters/File
Trump last week ordered sweeping but vague bans on dealings with the Chinese owners of TikTok and messaging app WeChat. — Reuters/File

WASHINGTON: TikTok and its US employees are planning to take President Donald Trump’s administration to court over his sweeping order to ban the popular video app, according to a lawyer preparing one of the lawsuits.

The employees’ legal challenge to Trump’s executive order will be separate from a pending lawsuit from the company that owns the app, though both will argue that the order is unconstitutional, said Mike Godwin, an internet policy lawyer representing the employees.

Trump last week ordered sweeping but vague bans on dealings with the Chinese owners of TikTok and messaging app WeChat, saying they are a threat to US national security, foreign policy and the economy. The TikTok order would take effect in September, but it remains unclear what it will mean for the apps’ 100 million US users, many of them teenagers or young adults who use it to post and watch short-form videos.

It’s also unclear if it will make it illegal for TikTok to pay its roughly 1,500 workers in the US, which is why some of them came to Godwin for help, he said. The order would prohibit any transaction by any person with TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance.

Employees correctly recognize that their jobs are in danger and their payment is in danger right now, Godwin said.

Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2020