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TikTok’s US Employees Prepare to Sue Trump Over App Ban, Loss of Paychecks

© REUTERS / FLORENCE LOThe messenger app WeChat and short-video app TikTok are seen near China and U.S. flags in this illustration picture taken August 7, 2020
The messenger app WeChat and short-video app TikTok are seen near China and U.S. flags in this illustration picture taken August 7, 2020 - Sputnik International
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US TikTok employees are planning to take US President Donald Trump’s administration to court after the commander-in-chief earlier this month issued an executive order stating that he would ban the Chinese social media app if its US operations were not sold by its parent company within 45 days.

California-based TikTok technical program manager Patrick Ryan has organized a GoFundMe fundraiser seeking $30,000 to file an injunction to ensure that US-based TikTok employees will still get paid, as Trump’s executive order would prohibit TikTok from paying them.

“We are only asking only for the right to continue to receive paychecks, not for anything else: no damages or any other payout. Any money raised but not spent will be donated to charity. All money will go straight to our law firm and I commit to provide final accounting of expenditures,” Ryan writes on the GoFundMe page.

In a statement to the Business Insider, Ryan, who will be represented by Mike Godwin, a Washington, DC-based civil liberties lawyer, expressed concern that his constitutional rights are being violated.

"The fear is that we will not be able to receive our paychecks after September 20," Ryan said. "I'm concerned my constitutional rights are being violated here. I don't mean to sound overly lawyerly, but due process is a concept, and this is one example where that's really violated."

"There's been no due process here. There's been no procedural process that would lead any employee who works at TikTok now to conclude this type of thing would even be possible,” he added.

Godwin expects a lawsuit to be filed next week regardless of whether the GoFundMe reaches its $30,000 target.

Trump’s executive order would ban TikTok and messaging app WeChat in the US over claims that they threaten American national security.

“The spread [of apps controlled by the Chinese government] continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States,” the order reads. “The United States must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security.”

Earlier this month, US technology company Microsoft revealed that it is in talks to buy some operations of TikTok, which is owned by the Beijing-based company ByteDance.
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