Enlarge /. Visitors visit Douyin's (TikTok) booth at Smart Expo 2019 in Hangzhou, China on October 18, 2019.
A federal judge in Pennsylvania has blocked an order from the Trump administration that would have banned TikTok from operating in the U.S. from November 12. He noted that content creators who use the short-form video platform to make a living would suffer "irreparable harm" if the ban were to go through.
The "substantial and irrecoverable economic loss caused by the shutdown of the TikTok platform" was a reason for issuing an injunction, Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the US District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania wrote in a judgment today (PDF).
President Donald Trump issued an executive order in August declaring TikTok (as well as another China-based app, WeChat) a national emergency. This order gave the Commerce Department 45 days to compile a list of prohibited actions. Commerce did this and banned new TikTok downloads after September 20th and banned almost all other TikTok features after November 12th.
It's not the same case where TikTok received a respite from a federal judge over the September deadline. In this case, TikTok itself sued the federal government. U.S. District Court Justice Carl Nichols issued an injunction banning the Sept. 27 ban from taking effect, ruling that the Trump administration likely exceeded its legal authority in passing the ban.
In this case, three TikTok content creators – Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alec Chambers – have filed lawsuits. The three among them have over 6.5 million total subscribers, and they argued they would lose access to "tens of thousands of potential viewers and creators every month" if the ban were passed.
Beetlestone denied the same plaintiffs' request for injunctions in September, stating at the time that such a ban would "undoubtedly be an inconvenience," but noted that they could not demonstrate they were "immediate, irreparable." TikTok users can still access the platform. This time, however, Beetlestone found that the ban on meaningful use of the platform would actually be harmful.
TikTok is currently in talks with Oracle about a not actually acquired deal that would, in theory, put control of the company in the hands of the United States and alleviate the White House's stated national security concerns.