According to recent reports, an employee of TikTok speaking on behalf of TikTok’s American employees says that they will sue the U.S. government over the ban on TikTok. Presently, TikTok’s fate is hanging on a thread and its business in the U.S. remains uncertain. This is coming after the recent executive order that seeks to ban the popular short video app.
According to Patrick Ryan, a technical program manager at TikTok, “his lawsuit will focus on the constitutional right to due process, arguing it’s not the president’s decision “to permit or to not permit entire businesses on a whim.”
Furthermore, Mr. Ryan claims that about 1500 Americans will probably lose their jobs when Trump’s order becomes active. There is currently a GoFundMe account to help pay for legal representation. The account already has about $15,000 and it needs $30,000 to cover the entire cost.
A top internet rights lawyer, Blackstone Law Group, and Mike Godwin will represent TikTok’s U.S. employees. Later this week, the case will be in a federal court. They are arguing that Donald Trump’s action “represents executive overreach”. They also claim that his actions trample on workers’ constitutional rights, including the right to a job. This case will be filed in the Southern District of New York, Northern California or Washington, D.C. Furthermore, the case will be seeking further clarifications on how the Commerce Department plans to apply the ban on transactions.
The case also seeks clarification on the details of the ban
Alexander Urbelis, a partner with Blackstone Law Group said “We don’t necessarily know whether it is the intention of the government to prevent them from being paid…Livelihoods are being put at stake by the executive order…The president said he intended to put TikTok out of business, and the executive order does that, with no due process”. As of now, there is no clarity on the issue.
According to Ryan, this order will not only kill TikTok in the U.S., it will also give rise to thousands of hungry Americans. What is the provision for these Americans that will hit the street without a job? For Ryan, the president’s order clear on what transactions will be prohibited. He also says that there is no time for a “wait and see approach.”
About two weeks ago, President Trump signed an executive order that bans TikTok and WeChat in the U.S. from Septemeber 20th. According to him, his move is in response to TikTok’s collection of user data. It has concerns that TikTok could be sharing this information with the Chinese government.
Instead of an outright ban, many people believe that this process is far from transparent. There are better ways of handling this issue if it was really about protecting users’ privacy. However, the president leaves TikTok with two options – sell to an American company or face a ban. We will see how these play out in the coming weeks.