A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s ban of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok.
The Verge reports that a U.S. District Court judge ruled last week that the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok cannot yet be shut down by an executive order from the Trump administration. The judge granted a preliminary injunction against a number of bans by the U.S. Commerce Department that were scheduled to go into effect on November 12.
If the ban went into effect, the app would seemingly become unusable by restricting web hosting, content delivery, and more. TikTok is suing the Trump administration and Commerce Department in an attempt to block the ban but the latest ruling came from another lawsuit.
The latest lawsuit was brought by three TikTok creators who are concerned that the ban would prevent them from earning a living. The judge sided with the creators who argued that TikTok videos constitute “information materials,” which are protected under the law.
The judge wrote: “The short videos created and exchanged on TikTok are expressive and informative, and are analogous to the ‘films,’ ‘artworks,’ ‘photographs,’ and ‘news wire feeds’ expressly protected under” the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.
Ambika Kumar Doran, lead attorney for the influencers who brought the lawsuit, told the Verge in an email:
We are pleased that the judge has halted this ban, which exceeds the President’s authority under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, namely portions of the Act that reflect our nation’s deep commitment to free speech.
We are deeply moved by the outpouring of support from our community, who have worked to protect their rights to expression, to their careers, and to support small businesses, particularly during the pandemic.
A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement: “We support our creative community in continuing to share their voices, both through the platform and the legal options available to them, and we are committed to continuing to provide a home for them to do so.”