U.S. Defends TikTok Ban With Saturday Ruling Against 3 Users
(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration defended its ban on TikTok in U.S. app stores, citing a Pennsylvania federal judge’s ruling Saturday against three TikTok users.
TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance Ltd., has sued the Trump administration in federal court in Washington, seeking a temporary hold on President Donald Trump’s ban of the app, which is set to begin on Sunday night. A hearing in that case is scheduled for Sunday morning.
On Saturday, the Justice Department filed papers invoking the Pennsylvania judge’s denial of a similar hold that the TikTok users had requested and argued that the video-sharing app’s request to block the ban should be denied.
In the Pennsylvania case, three users who say they make a living on TikTok argued that the U.S. government had violated their First Amendment rights and exceeded the bounds of executive authority by moving to ban TikTok.
But in a 22-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone brushed aside the First Amendment concerns and said the consequences of the ban wouldn’t be severe enough for the users to justify an injunction temporarily blocking the order while the litigation continues.
“The inability of plaintiffs to grow their audience to include new U.S. users who do not currently have TikTok but might download the application and view plaintiffs’ content after September 27 is not the type of irreparable injury that warrants extraordinary relief,” Beetlestone wrote.
The ruling doesn’t necessarily indicate that the judge in Washington will come to the same conclusion. Because Beetlestone ruled that the ban wouldn’t cause “irreparable injury” to TikTok users, she didn’t weigh in on whether it exceeds the White House’s authority under the law, as ByteDance has argued in the Washington case.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.