The US Commerce Department says it will “vigorously defend” a recently blocked executive order from President Trump which would effectively ban TikTok in the United States.
A federal judge on Friday issued a preliminary injunction that will stop US officials from restricting the popular video platform’s web hosting and content delivery after three TikTok users argued that it would stop them from being able to make a living.
The restrictions would not technically have shut down the app, but would have killed its functionality in the US on Nov. 12.
Though the Commerce Department did not respond to a request for comment Friday, by Sunday it released a statement saying it would “comply with the injunction … but intends to vigorously defend the EO … from legal challenges.”
The government parties in the suit — which include President Trump, the Department of Commerce and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross — have argued that the TikTok’s parent company ByteDance has direct ties to officials in Beijing and could siphon personal information from American TikTok users that could then be used against the country.
Judge Wendy Beetlestone wrote on Friday that “the Government’s own descriptions of the national security threat posed by the TikTok app are phrased in the hypothetical,” and that they “cannot say the risk presented by the Government outweighs the public interest” in keeping TikTok running.
On Sept. 27, a US District Judge Carl Nichols issued a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by ByteDance that stopped the Commerce Department from ordering Apple and Google’s app stores to remove TikTok for download by new users. That order had been set to take effect later that day.
Nichols is set to hold a hearing on Wednesday on the other aspects of the Commerce Department order that were blocked on Friday.
Talks have been ongoing to finalize a preliminary deal for Walmart and Oracle to take stakes in a new company, TikTok Global, that would oversee the app’s US operations. Trump said last month the deal had his “blessing.”
With Post wires
A Global Asset Management Seoul Korea Magazine