Second Federal Judge Rules Against Trump Order to Ban TikTok

A federal judge on Monday blocked the administration’s attempt to ban new downloads of in the United States, the latest defeat in the White House’s efforts to outlaw the app in the country.

President Trump in August signed an executive order that would officially ban any U.S. transactions with TikTok if its Chinese parent ByteDance did not reach a deal to divest it to a U.S. company. Commerce Department officials later said they were taking the unprecedented step of banning the app because of the risks posed by its data collection practices and Chinese ownership.

On Monday, however, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington concluded that President Trump had overstepped his authority in using his emergency economic powers to try to put the wildly popular app out of business.

Nichols wrote that the government “likely exceeded IEEPA’s [the International Emergency Economic Powers Act] express limitations as part of an agency action that was arbitrary and capricious.” Nichols is a Trump appointee and the second federal judge to rule against the president’s ban.

Should the order have gone into effect, Apple and Google could have been forced to remove TikTok from their respective app stores, and users who already have the app installed would no longer receive updates. However, in October, a federal judge granted TikTok a preliminary injunction that temporarily halted the banning order while TikTok owner ByteDance sought a way to divest the app’s U.S. operations to an American-based company.

ByteDance’s deadline to divest itself of the social media app TikTok elapsed on Monday, but talks are set to continue with the U.S. government about a sale without another deadline extension. ByteDance has reached a proposed deal with Oracle and Walmart that would divest it of the social media app and create a new U.S.-based company called TikTok Global.

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