Tiktok owner seeks to block Trump ban
Firm has until this weekend to get sale of U.S. operations approved
The owner of Tiktok asked a federal judge in Washington for a preliminary injunction to block the Trump administration from removing the social network from U.S. app stores.
Tiktok faces a deadline this weekend to get a sale of its U.S. operations approved or face a de facto ban in the U.S. stemming from an Aug. 6 executive order by U.S. President Donald Trump. The injunction request, filed by Tiktok’s Chinese owner, Bytedance Ltd., challenges new Commerce Department rules that would see Tiktok removed from app stores starting this month and require changes to its core functionality that the company says would effectively shut it down in the U.S. entirely by mid-november.
Bytedance asked for an expedited court hearing before the rule takes effect at 11:59 p.m on Sunday.
The company proposed that additional briefs should be filed later this week.
Tiktok has “made extraordinary efforts to try to satisfy the government’s ever-shifting demands and purported national security concerns,” Bytedance said in its filing.
“In the absence of preliminary injunctive relief, the Aug. 6 order and the prohibitions will cause plaintiffs irreparable harm.”
The filing seeks the injunction on many of the same grounds as users of Wechat, another Chinese-owned app, including the First Amendment and that it would cause irreparable harm. Wechat users in the U.S., facing a similar ban, won a preliminary injunction on Sept.19 from a judge in California who ruled that the ban would harm free speech.
Trump’s order followed an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews proposed acquisitions of domestic businesses by overseas investors for national security concerns. It set off a flurry of attempted deal-making, pushing Bytedance to seek a sale of the video app’s American operations to a U.S. company.
Tiktok has reached a deal with Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc., although the Chinese side isn’t happy with it. On Saturday, Trump said he had given his “blessing” to the deal but warned that it could still fall apart.