TikTok has requested an injunction against a looming ban on its app in the United States. The company — a US subsidiary of Chinese corporation ByteDance — claims a Trump administration executive order violates its right to due process and freedom of speech. It’s asking a District of Columbia judge to block a rule that would require Apple and Google to remove the app from their stores on September 27th.
The request addresses an increasingly convoluted attempt to sever TikTok from ByteDance, ostensibly because the Chinese-owned app poses national security risks. President Donald Trump originally gave ByteDance a September 15th deadline to sell TikTok, then ordered app stores to ban it on September 20th. It was granted a last-minute extension after Trump approved a tentative deal with Oracle, but it’s unclear whether ByteDance would actually give up control of TikTok under the agreement and whether China would approve the deal if it does.
TikTok sued the administration over its original rulemaking last month, saying that the decision exceeded the limits of Trump’s power to ban an app’s operation on national emergency grounds. Now, it wants an expedited hearing on whether Trump’s demands would harm TikTok enough to justify blocking his order while the suit proceeds.
Tencent-owned messaging app WeChat was granted a similar reprieve over the weekend, when a group of WeChat users successfully petitioned a judge to temporarily block sanctions against the app. In that case, the judge cited “serious questions” about whether Trump’s WeChat ban infringed on users’ First Amendment rights.
In its own filing, TikTok says that it has “made extraordinary efforts to try to satisfy the government’s ever-shifting demands and purported national security concerns,” including changing the company’s ownership and structure. “Hundreds of millions of Americans who have not yet downloaded TikTok will be shut out of this large and diverse online community— six weeks before a national election,” it says.