Working for TikTok won't be illegal under Trump order, US says

The Commerce Department doesn't intend to outlaw payment of wages or salaries for TikTok employees in the US.
The Commerce Department doesn't intend to outlaw payment of wages or salaries for TikTok employees in the US.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - The US government said working for TikTok won't be illegal under an executive order by President Donald Trump that will prohibit Americans from transactions with the social-media network and its Chinese parent.

The Commerce Department doesn't intend to outlaw payment of wages or salaries for TikTok employees in the US, interfere with their benefit packages or impose civil or criminal liability, the Justice Department said Monday (Sept 14).

The department will specify by Sept 20 which transactions with TikTok and parent ByteDance are to be prohibited in the US.

The Justice Department filed the notice in federal court in San Francisco, where a federal judge had been scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday on a TikTok employee's request to bar Trump's Aug 6 executive order while its legality is being contested.

Late on Monday, that hearing was taken off the court calendar without an explanation, records show.

According to the US, there's no need for a temporary restraining order because TikTok employees won't have to fear their jobs will be made illegal.

The filing doesn't address Oracle Corp's interest in acquiring TikTok.

The US has said TikTok as well as WeChat, another Chinese-owned app, are a national security threat because the Chinese Communist Party can use the apps to spread misinformation, censor news that is critical of China and steal users' private data.