TikTok ban in US to be challenged

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TikTok and its US employees are planning to take Donald Trump’s administration to court over his sweeping order to ban the popular video app.

The employees’ legal challenge to Mr Trump’s executive order will be separate from a pending lawsuit from the company that owns the app.

However both challenges will argue that the order is unconstitutional, said Mike Godwin, an internet policy lawyer representing the employees.

Last week Mr Trump 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.

It is also unclear if the order – which would prohibit “any transaction by any person” with TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance – will make it illegal for TikTok to pay its roughly 1,500 workers in the US.

Mr Godwin said: “Employees correctly recognise that their jobs are in danger and their payment is in danger right now.”

TikTok said in a statement last week that it was “shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process”.

Microsoft is in talks to buy parts of TikTok, in a potential sale that is being forced under Mr Trump’s threat of a ban.

“The administration is committed to protecting the American people from all cyber threats and these apps collect significant amounts of private data on users,” she said, adding that the Chinese government can access and use such data.

TikTok said it spent nearly a year trying to engage in “good faith” with the US government to address these concerns.

The company said: “What we encountered instead was that the Administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses.”

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