As a deal deciding the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance, the Chinese-owned video app is seeking an emergency injunction to halt the Trump administration’s order that would ban app stores from carrying TikTok in the U.S. as of Sept. 27.
“There is simply no genuine emergency here that would justify the government’s precipitous actions,” TikTok said in the lawsuit, filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “And there is no plausible reason to insist the prohibitions be enforced immediately.”
TikTok alleges that Trump used national security as a pretext for trying to shut down the app and was motivated “by political considerations relating to the upcoming general election.”
TikTok is currently owned by Chinese internet giant ByteDance, which is being forced by the Trump administration — citing national security concerns — to sell its U.S. operations. Over the weekend, ByteDance reached a preliminary deal with Oracle and Walmart, which got a provisional OK by President Trump. But conflicting information from ByteDance and Oracle about who will control the new TikTok Global may derail the pact.
In the latest legal filing, TikTok asked for an expedited hearing for a preliminary injunction. The company said it has “made extraordinary efforts to try to satisfy the government’s ever-shifting demands and purported national security concerns.”
The Commerce Department originally set Sept. 20 for the TikTok download ban, before delaying the deadline to Sept. 27 given Trump’s preliminary approval. A total ban on Tencent’s WeChat app also was to go into effect last Sunday, but a judge issued a temporary stay of that order on First Amendment grounds.
TikTok had previously sued Trump and his administration on Aug. 24, alleging it violated TikTok’s constitutional right to due process. Trump invoked national-security concerns as a “pretext for furthering the President’s broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric in the run-up to the U.S. election,” TikTok said in that complaint.
The ByteDance deal with Oracle and Walmart still needs official U.S. and China government approval.
Separately, TiKTok announced Wednesday that it banning ads for fasting apps and weight loss supplements, as well as increasing restrictions on ads that promote a “harmful and negative body image.” The company also said it was partnering with the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) to provides resources to users directly from the app and will launch a dedicated page for NEDA’s #EndWeightHateCampaign to support Weight Stigma Awareness Week (Sept. 28-Oct. 2).
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