TikTok’s United States workers prepare to take legal action against Trump administration over executive order


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TikTok, a short-form video app, is being targeted by the Trump administration since it’s owned by a Chinese tech business. 

Angela Lang/CNET

TikTok’s United States workers are preparing to submit a suit challenging a Trump administration executive order they state would make it unlawful for their company to pay them. 

Last week, President Donald Trump released an executive order disallowing any United States deals with ByteDance, the Chinese business that owns TikTok, and its subsidiaries. The language of the order is broad, so it’s uncertain if it would disallow TikTok from paying its workers. The Trump administration didn’t react to concerns about how the order would affect TikTok’s workers.

The order, which would work Sept. 20, would successfully prohibit the short-form video app from running in the United States if ByteDance does not offer TikTok. Microsoft has actually acknowledged it’s going over an offer to purchase TikTok’s service in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Negotiations might be finished by Sept. 15, which is prior to the executive order’s due date. 

Mike Godwin, a popular web rights attorney, stated in a tweet Thursday that he is among the lawyers dealing with a suit versus the Trump administration. 

“I believe that the U.S. government with its overbroad executive order has put employees’ Constitutional rights, including the right to be paid, in jeopardy,” he tweeted.

In an interview, Godwin stated the executive order breached the 5th and 14th Amendments to the United States Constitution, which mention that nobody will be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.” The claim might be submitted by the end of next week.

“It’s fundamentally a due process claim, but there are some employment law claims that also may be relevant,” stated Godwin, who’s dealing with the Blackstone Law Group in New York. “We just want to make sure that we check all the boxes.”

Godwin was worked with by Patrick Ryan, a TikTok worker who began a GoFundMe project to raise $30,000 to “file an injunction so that a court can order the government to change the order so that TikTok can still pay employees.” On the GoFundMe page and in a TikTok video, Ryan stated the order would indicate 1,500 ByteDance and TikTok workers would lose their incomes on Sept. 20. More than $11,200 has actually been raised for the project.

TikTok is likewise dealing with a different claim versus the Trump administration that’s likewise anticipated to declare that the order is unconstitutional, NPR reported. The claim will be submitted in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, according to the report. 

TikTok stated it wasn’t associated with the prospective worker claim or collaborating activity with the group. The business included that it appreciates “the rights of employees to engage in concerted activity to seek due process of law.”

In an article recently, TikTok stated it was “shocked” by Trump’s executive order which the order was “issued without any due process.”

The Trump administration’s executive order follows India prohibited TikTok and lots of other Chinese apps over nationwide security issues. In the order, the Trump administration states the user information TikTok gathers “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.” 

TikTok has actually stated United States user information isn’t saved in China which it would not turn over user information to the Chinese federal government even if asked to do so.

The Trump administration likewise released a different executive order that would prohibit messaging app WeChat in the United States.

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany safeguarded the executive orders throughout a press instruction.

“The administration is committed to protecting the American people from all cyberthreats,” she stated. “These apps collect significant amounts of private data on users, and such information can be accessed and used by the People’s Republic of China. TikTok has a documented history of censoring free speech to conform to Chinese Communist Party propaganda, and we take the data of Americans very seriously.”

When inquired about the executive orders, Trump stated the United States federal government desired “total security.”

“We don’t want to have any information going into China,” Trump stated.

CNET’s Oscar Gonzalez added to this report. 

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