WASHINGTON, D.C.—-today, a judge granted a partial preliminary injunction to video-sharing app TikTok on Sunday, blocking a ban on new downloads in the US that would have gone into effect at midnight. US District Judge Carl Nichols issued his decision to grant a preliminary injunction just after 8PM ET, but his opinion has been sealed, pending review by the two sides’ attorneys. Nichols did not block “at this time” restrictions by the Commerce Department set to go into effect on November 12th, however.
Attorneys for TikTok argued Sunday morning during a dial-in hearing that a ban by the Trump administration would be “devastating,” and urged a judge to block it until the entire case can be decided. TikTok’s attorney said the ban that would prevent new downloads of TikTok from Apple and Google’s app stores at 11:59PM ET today was essentially “shutting down speech.” But the government’s lawyers argued that First Amendment claims by TikTok don’t apply, because the Trump administration considers the app a national security risk.
“TikTok, a video-sharing mobile application owned by the Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., has reportedly been downloaded over 175 million times in the United States and over one billion times globally. TikTok automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories.” said the Trump’s Administration.
“This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information — potentially allowing China to track the locations of Federal employees and contractors, build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage,” added the Trump’s Administration.
“TikTok also reportedly censors content that the Chinese Communist Party deems politically sensitive, such as content concerning protests in Hong Kong and China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. This mobile application may also be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, such as when TikTok videos spread debunked conspiracy theories about the origins of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.”
President Donald J. Trump pinned a letter to the Hill…”to deal with this threat, the order prohibits, beginning 45 days after the date of this order, to the extent permitted under applicable law, any transaction by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with ByteDance Ltd. (a.k.a. Zìjié Tiàodòng), Beijing, China, or its subsidiaries, in which any such company has any interest, as identified by the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary).”