BUSINESS TikTok, its employees prepare to fight Trump over app ban

BUSINESS

TikTok, its employees prepare to fight Trump over app ban

CGTN

15:10, August 14, 2020

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File photo: CGTN

It's also unclear if the order will make it illegal for TikTok to pay its roughly 1,500 workers in the U.S., 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.

TikTok said in a statement last week that it was "shocked by the recent Executive Order, which was issued without any due process." It declined to comment Thursday on whether it is pursuing its own lawsuit.

"We have no involvement with and are not coordinating on" the employee-led initiative, TikTok spokeswoman Hilary McQuaide said via email. "We respect the rights of employees to engage in concerted activity to seek due process of law."

The Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution safeguard life, liberty and property from arbitrary government action lacking "due process of law."

Voices from TikTok

TikTok said it spent nearly a year trying to engage in "good faith" with the U.S. government to address these concerns.

"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," the company's statement said.

Godwin said he was retained by Patrick Ryan, who joined TikTok from Google earlier this year as a technical program manager. Ryan posted a public fundraising pitch on GoFundMe this week to raise money for attorneys who can "fight this unconstitutional taking."

Voices from U.S. users 

The looming ban has annoyed TikTok users, some of them Trump supporters like Pam Graef of Metairie, Louisiana.

The 53-year-old fitness instructor found nearly instant TikTok fame after downloading the app this summer and posting a video of herself dancing frenetically in a kitchen as someone pretending to be her embarrassed daughter shouts that she's doing it wrong. The video has nearly 3.5 million views.

"I don't want it to be banned. It's just a blast," Graef said. "It's a way for me to promote my virtual training and virtual classes."

She said Trump won't lose her vote over this, but she doesn't understand all the fuss about the app's Chinese ownership. 

"What are they gaining by spying on us?" Graef said. "We're just doing stupid videos and having fun."

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that, until late last year, the TikTok app was able to track users of Android phones without their consent by collecting unique phone identifiers in a way that skirted privacy safeguards set by Google. 

TikTok responded that the technique it used is a common way to prevent fraud and said it no longer collects the unique identifier.

Source(s): AP

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