A federal judge in Washington, D.C., granted an injunction on Monday that will block the Trump administration from shutting down TikTok.
There are now two injunctions preventing the administration from disabling the popular short-form video service. A judge in Philadelphia ordered a similar injunction on Oct. 30, in response to a suit brought by three TikTok creators.
The Trump administration has been trying to shutter the app since August, when President Trump declared that that its ties to China pose a national security risk, and that the app could be used to spread Chinese propaganda. The Commerce Department issued an order in September that would have blocked new downloads of the app. Another series of orders, initially set to take effect in November, would have barred hosting services and others from supporting the app, which would have disabled it for existing users.
TikTok sued, and U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols granted an injunction that prevented the download ban from taking effect.
In the latest ruling, Nichols also enjoined enforcement of the remaining provisions. In the ruling, Nichols found that TikTok had shown it would suffer irreparable harm if the order were allowed to take effect.
“Functionally shutting down TikTok in the United States would, of course, have the immediate and direct effect of driving all existing and potential users to alternative platforms and eroding TikTok’s competitive position,” Nichols wrote. “In fact, TikTok has proffered unrebutted evidence that uncertainty in TikTok’s future availability has already driven, and will continue to drive, content creators and fans to other platforms.”
The Commerce Secretary invoked a 1977 law, the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, in seeking to shut down TikTok. But the judge noted that the law does not give the government the authority to regulate personal communication.
“Plaintiffs have established that the government likely exceeded IEEPA’s express limitations as part of an agency action that was arbitrary and capricious,” the judge wrote.
The government has already appealed the ruling in the Philadelphia case.
The Trump administration has also sought to force TikTok’s parent, ByteDance, to divest the company. ByteDance struck a deal to divest the company to an entity with Walmart and Oracle holding a 20% stake. But the deal remains in limbo, and TikTok has also gone to court to try to block the government’s divestment order.
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