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Bytedance: US government fails again in court for Tiktok

Last updated on March 9, 2021

A US judge ruled that Tiktok videos are worth protecting. In doing so, it prevented the US government from attempting to close Tiktok again.

Video app Tiktok: The situation remains unclear. (Image: Florence Lo / Illustration / Reuters)

The US government has again suffered a defeat with its plan to ban the video app Tiktok: A judge in the US state of Pennsylvania issued an injunction against several orders from the US Department of Commerce. These should have come into force on November 12th and would have meant the end of Tiktok in the USA.

Three users, one woman and two men, applied for the injunction . They make a living from videos they post on Tiktok. Among other things, the orders of the Ministry of Commerce severely restricted hosting and the provision of content, ultimately rendering the app unusable.

No life without tiktok

That would have deprived the three of them, who each have over a million followers, of the basis for a living. They argued that the Tiktok videos were informational material that was protected by law. The judge agreed with them: The videos published on Tiktok are like films, works of art, photographs and news and thus protected by the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, she wrote.

This is not the first defeat in court that the administration of US President Donald Trump has to accept in its campaign against Tiktok: In September a court prevented a download ban on the Tiktok app by the Department of Commerce. After that, Apple and Google would have had to remove the Tiktok app from their app stores. Apps already installed would have continued to work.

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Trump considers Tiktok to be a security risk

Trump considers the Tiktok app, which is owned by the Chinese Bytedance group, to be a security risk. He believes that Chinese authorities could get data from US citizens through the app. Therefore, he calls for an end to the app or that Tiktok's US business comes under US control. Thereupon the software company Oracle and the retail chain Walmart joined Tiktok. Oracle should process all data from US users and take care of the associated technical systems.

The deal, which is supposed to ensure the continued existence of Tiktok in the USA, is approved by the US government . The situation remains uncertain, however, because it is not clear who will hold the majority in the global Tiktok business, Oracle and Walmart or Bytedance. This delays the conclusion of the agreement.

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