Trump's War On TikTok Not Going Well

Trump's War On TikTok Not Going Well

Sunday was supposed to be the beginning of the end for TikTok in the United States. At midnight, the app was supposed to be banned from all app stores, per an order from the Trump administration, but the company was given a last minute reprieve from Judge Carl Nichols of the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

In an emergency hearing on Sunday morning, lawyers representing TikTok argued that banning the app was a First Amendment issue.

Via AP:

In arguments to Judge Nichols, TikTok lawyer John Hall said that TikTok is more than an app, since it functions as a "modern day version of a town square."

"If that prohibition goes into effect at midnight, the consequences immediately are grave,'" Hall said. "It would be no different than the government locking the doors to a public forum, roping off that town square" at a time when a free exchange of ideas is necessary heading into a polarized election.

Trump's excuse for wanting to ban the app is that he claims that it is a national security threat because TikTok is a Chinese company. Weirdly, he had no problem with his daughter Ivanka having sweatshops in China just a few years ago.

Of course, he's also been very mad at TikTok ever since a bunch of teenagers used the app to ruin his rally in Tulsa — you know, the one that killed Herman Cain? Tons of TikTok users recorded and then quickly deleted videos telling people to RSVP to Trump's rally and then not show up, making his administration think that thousands and thousands of people were going to show up and brag about it all week, only to find themselves with an extremely weak turnout. It was after this that he suddenly decided that the greatest threat to our national security is China spying on American citizens doing choreographed dances to Megan Thee Stallion's "Savage."

There is still a more comprehensive ban that is supposed to go into effect in November, just a few weeks before the election (what timing!), which Judge Nichols did not postpone. ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, is currently trying to work out a deal with United States-based companies in order to stay active in the US market.

TikTok is still scrambling to firm up a deal tentatively struck a week ago in which it would partner with Oracle, a huge database-software company, and Walmart in an effort to win the blessing of both the Chinese and American governments. In the meantime, it is fighting to keep the app available in the U.S.

TikTok said in a statement that it was pleased with the court ruling and continues to work to turn its deal proposal into an actual agreement. The Commerce Department, which is responsible for the specific orders banning TikTok, said it will comply with the judge's order but intends to vigorously defend the administration's efforts against the app.

We may not know what the future will hold for TikTok (probably Trump will lose and it will be just fine), but regardless of what happens, the Fleetwood Mac/Cranberry Juice guy must be protected at all costs.

[Associated Press]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse


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