TikTok creators fail to block US government's impending app ban
A judge has denied an attempt by content creators on TikTok to stop a ban of the app in the United States on Sunday, rejecting arguments the ban would cause "immediate, irreparable harm" if it is implemented as scheduled.
The trio of TikTok users, listed as Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alex Chambers, attempted to convince the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to issue a temporary restraining order. If granted, the order would have helped prevent the US government from proceeding to ban TikTok from the App Store and Google Play on Sunday.
In the court opinion, published on Sunday, the trio claimed they earned their living from TikTok, with each having a sizable audience of between 1.8 million and 2.7 million subscribers.
The group argues TikTok's "For You" page is unique, as its algorithm enables "little-known creators" to be discovered by a wider audience. The trio specifically claim they would "lose access to tens of thousands of potential viewers and creators every month" from the ban, compounded by the "looming threat to close TikTok altogether."
Judge Wendy Beetlestone ultimately rejects the arguments. While the ban would be "an inconvenience," it wouldn't necessarily cause "immediate, irreparable harm," as it would impact only new subscribers. For the moment, the ban would allow current app owners to continue to use the service, while the trio will also be able to "create, publish, and share content" for their current followers.
The US government is currently set to ban the app at 11:59pm on Sunday, unless attempts to block it succeed. On Wednesday, TikTok filed an emergency injunction to try and stop it, with a judge allowing the Trump administration to postpone or defend the ban by Friday.
On Friday, the Department of Justice opposed the injunction, claiming a decision in TikTok's favor would weaken the president's power during a claimed national security emergency.
A hearing is taking place on Sunday morning in Washington to decide the matter.
This is not the first time TikTok has managed to secure a stay of execution. An original deadline of September 20 was delayed as TikTok owner ByteDance secured a deal with Walmart and Oracle to divest its US operation, a deal that was initially approved by President Donald Trump, before seemingly scuttling the deal.