WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government said in a court filing on Thursday it was appealing a judge’s ruling that prevented it from prohibiting new downloads of the Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok.
The Justice Department said it appealed the order to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.
In late September, a U.S. judge temporarily blocked a Trump administration order that was set to bar Apple Inc <AAPL.O> and Alphabet Inc’s Google <GOOGL.O> from offering new TikTok downloads.
China’s ByteDance, which owns TikTok, has been under pressure to sell the popular app. The White House contends that TikTok poses national security concerns as personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by China’s government. Any deal will also still need to be reviewed by the U.S. government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
Negotiations are under way for Walmart Inc <WMT.N> and Oracle Corp <ORCL.N> to take stakes in a new company, TikTok Global, that would oversee U.S. operations.
But key terms of the deal – including who will have majority ownership – are in dispute. ByteDance has also said any deal will need to be approved by China. Beijing has revised its list of technologies subject to export bans in a way that gives it a say over any TikTok deal.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)
SAN FRANCISCO — The federal government on Thursday appealed a judge’s ruling that prevented the Trump administration from imposing a ban on TikTok, the viral video app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.
In a filing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Justice Department argued that a preliminary injunction issued last month by Judge Carl Nichols in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia should be lifted.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said it had no further comment beyond the appeal. TikTok declined to comment. It was not immediately clear when the court might act on the government’s appeal.
The government’s decision to appeal the injunction, which delayed TikTok from being banned in U.S. app stores, further escalates the battle between the White House and ByteDance. The move is part of a Cold War between the United States and the Chinese government.
The Chinese government has for years prevented its citizens from using international apps like Facebook, Twitter and other communications services. Since President Trump took office, he has repeatedly moved to stop Chinese companies from investing in and acquiring American companies. Citing national security concerns, the administration has also sought to stop American citizens from using Chinese-owned apps and has worked to banish Chinese technology and hardware from American telecommunications networks.
Beyond TikTok, the Trump administration has sought to block WeChat, the popular messaging app owned by Tencent. Last month, the Commerce Department moved to block American companies like Google and Apple from hosting WeChat in their app stores, as well as bar companies from hosting its data or helping to deliver content to its users.
Scrutiny of TikTok began after ByteDance bought its forerunner, Musical.ly, in 2017. American officials began scrutinizing the deal for national security concerns last year. Mr. Trump and
By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Friday said it was appealing a judge’s decision to block the government from barring Apple Inc <AAPL.O> and Alphabet Inc’s <GOOGL.O> Google from offering Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat for download in U.S. app stores.
The government said it was appealing the Sept. 19 preliminary junction issued by U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The injunction blocked the U.S. Commerce Department order, which would also bar other U.S. transactions with Tencent Holding’s <0700.HK> WeChat, potentially making the app unusable in the United States.
A U.S. spokesman for Tencent did not immediately comment.
The Justice Department said earlier that Beeler’s order was in error and “permits the continued, unfettered use of WeChat, a mobile application that the Executive Branch has determined constitutes a threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”
Lawyers for the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance, the group behind the legal challenge to the WeChat ban, said on Friday the department “has still presented no compelling national security interest to justify such an unprecedented ban” and will oppose the effort.
The group noted Tencent tried to negotiate a settlement with the Commerce Department and offered a number of mitigation measures to address data security concerns.
Beeler said WeChat users “have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim.” The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech.
WeChat has had an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States, analytics firms Apptopia said in early August. It is popular among Chinese students, Americans living in China and some Americans who have personal or business relationships in China.
WeChat is an all-in-one mobile app that combines services similar to Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram