The US Justice Department has appealed a court order from 7 December blocking restrictions on the TikTok social media platform by the Commerce Department. Should the Commerce Department's measures take effect as a result of the appeal, the popular short video hosting app, owned by Asian ByteDance, would be barred from being downloading and used in the US.
The measures against TikTok were blocked from taking effect on the original date on 12 November by Judge Wendy Beetlestone in Pennsylvania – her decision was later upheld by District Judge in Washington, Carl Nichols. The US government has been seeking to revert the decision since.
New: US District Judge in DC says Trump administration exceeded its authority in its TikTok restrictions, calling actions "arbitrary and capricious." Judge orders that Commerce Department's ban be blocked "in full." pic.twitter.com/aRPLVOUwtQ— Bobby Allyn (@BobbyAllyn) December 7, 2020
12 November was the last deadline that the Trump administration gave to ByteDance to finalise the deal with American companies, Oracle and Target, to hand over control of the platform's operations in the US. The White House threatened to ban ByteDance's media platform should it not comply with its demands, citing alleged censorship and possible meddling in domestic US affairs from the Chinese company through video hosting.
The two judges, however, said the Trump administration's arguments did not hold water, with District Judge Carl Nichols calling the White House orders to restrict access to TikTok in the US "arbitrary and capricious” – he issued an injunction to stop the platform from being banned. Washington will now try to appeal Nichols' ruling in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.