The US government hit another roadblock in its efforts to block the popular Chinese social media app TikTok after the Pennsylvania court blocked the Commerce Department’s order to bar the short video-sharing app from operating on American soil from November 12.
Earlier another court ruling has blocked the department from forcing Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their respective app stores to make them unavailable for new users to download.
Reviewing a petition submitted by TikTok influencers, U.S. District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone pressed the Commerce Department to not bar content delivery services, data hosting and other technical transactions within the United States.
In her ruling, Judge Beetlestone said the mandate would “have the effect of shutting down, within the United States, a platform for expressive activity used by approximately 700 million individuals globally. Over 100 million of these TikTok users are within the United States, and at least 50 million of these U.S. users use the app on a daily basis.”
In its repose on the ruling TikTok’s Interim Global Head, Vanessa Pappas remarked that “We are deeply moved by the outpouring of support from our creators, who have worked to protect their rights to expression, their careers, and to help small businesses, particularly during the pandemic. We stand behind our community as they share their voices. And we are committed to continuing to provide a home for them to do so.”
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington, who made the earlier decision to block the removal of TikTik from Apple and Android app stores, is expected to hold another hearing on November 4, 2020, on the other aspects of the Commerce Department order that Judge Beetlestone blocked.