Desperate times call for extreme measures. The popular short-form video app TikTok has been facing unprecedented amounts of backlash from Uncle Sam for quite some time now, and it seems like they’ve had enough to be pushed over the edge.
TikTok, along with its U.S. employees, is reportedly planning to go head to head with none other than U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration in court.
According to a lawyer who has been tasked with preparing one of the lawsuits, this decision from TikTok comes in light of President Trump’s sweeping order to ban the app.
Here it needs to be noted that even though both TikTok and its employees will be arguing that Trump’s executive order is ‘unconstitutional’ in nature, the legal challenge filed by employees will be separate from a pending lawsuit from the company which owns the app.
In the previous week, President Trump ordered sweeping but arguably vague bans on dealings with the Chinese parent companies of TikTok and WeChat. He reasoned that these Chinese-origin apps are a massive threat to the national security of the U.S. and thus need to shut down shop.
Currently, the TikTok ban order is supposed to take effect in September if Microsoft or any other US-origin company doesn’t end up buying it. Additionally, Trump also mentioned whomsoever ends up owning the platform should pay a substantial portion of that price to the Treasury of the United States because his administration is making it possible for this deal to happen.
If the time runs out and TikTok couldn’t find a new U.S. owner then it remains unclear what will be happening to the platform’s 100 million U.S. users, many of them rely on brand endorsements for their earnings.
Besides, it is also not clear if the ban will make it illegal for TikTok to pay its 1,500 employees in the United States. Many employees of the company have now turned to Mike Godwin, who is an internet policy lawyer, to help them out.
In a statement regarding the same, Godwin mentioned that all the U.S. employees of TikTok were able to correctly recognize that their jobs are in danger and they might not end up getting paid if the ban is set in motion.
Both White House and TikTok haven’t responded to the multiple reach outs by news outlets for comment. However, Tiktok’s official company statement which came out on Friday did shed some light on their stance.
In the statement, TikTok said that they were in utter disbelief and shock when they got to know about the Executive order which was issued without any due process.
They further went on to mention how they’ve spent nearly an entire year trying to engage in good faith with the U.S. government; however, their facts weren’t paid any attention to.
TikTok claimed that the Trump administration went on to dictate terms of an agreement without going through any of the standard legal processes and forcefully tried to get involved in the negotiations between private businesses which has made the company very upset.
As of now, Patrick Ryan, who is a technical program manager for TikTok, has been strongly voicing his opinions about the entire issue publicly and has set up a fundraising pitch on GoFundMe which seeks to raise money for lawyers who can ‘fight this unconstitutional taking’.
All in all, whatever be the outcome, TikTok’s widespread popularity amid the U.S. citizens, unlike other Chinese tech companies targeted by Trump, adds a very thick layer of complexity to the lawsuit. We will keep you updated on all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.