TikTok asks judge to block Donald Trump's ban as deadline looms

Topics TikTok | Donald Trump

Photo: Shutterstock

Chinese-owned TikTok asked a judge to block the Trump administration's attempt to ban its app, suggesting the video-sharing app's forced deal with Oracle and Walmart remains unsettled.

An app-store ban of TikTok, delayed once by the government, is set to go into effect on Sunday. A more comprehensive ban is scheduled for November, about a week after the presidential election.

President Donald Trump set this process in motion with executive orders in August that declared TikTok and another Chinese app threats to US national security. The administration has offered no specifics to substantiate that charge.

Trump has pushed for a sale of TikTok's US operations to an American company. The president said this week that he would bless a proposed deal in which Oracle and Walmart take a 20-per cent stake in a new US entity to be called TikTok Global. But he also said he could retract his approval if Oracle does not "have total control".

The two sides in the TikTok deal appear at odds over the corporate structure of TikTok Global. ByteDance, TikTok's Chinese parent, said on Monday that it will still own 80 per cent of the US entity after a financing round. Oracle, meanwhile, put out a statement saying that Americans "will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global".

Chinese media has criticised the deal, suggesting that the Chinese government is not happy with the arrangement. The Chinese government complicated deal arrangements in August when it restricted exports of artificial-intelligence tech like that used by TikTok. One editorial in the state-owned China Daily on Wednesday called the deal a "dirty and underhanded trick".

In its filing in federal court in the District of Columbia, TikTok said Trump's August 6 executive order is unlawful. So are resulting Commerce Department prohibitions that aim to kick TikTok out of US app stores and, in November, essentially shut it down in the US, it claimed.

The Chinese firm said the president does not have the authority to take these actions under the national-security law he cited; that the ban violates TikTok's First Amendment speech rights and Fifth Amendment due-process rights; and that there's no authority for the restrictions because they are not based on a national emergency.

Representatives for the Commerce Department and Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Trump administration, in August, also began a process to ban Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat. Restrictions that would effectively have made the app impossible to use were set to go into effect on Sunday.

Over the weekend, a federal judge in California approved a request from a group of US WeChat users to delay those restrictions. She said the government's actions would affect users' First Amendment rights.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel