Trump's TikTok restrictions blocked by judge in win for users

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(Oct 31): A federal judge in Pennsylvania blocked a broad set of government restrictions designed to curb the use of the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok in the US.

US District Judge Wendy Beetlestone issued a temporary injunction on Friday blocking the TikTok ban in response to a lawsuit filed by a group of plaintiffs who use TikTok to make a living. The proposed rules, scheduled to go into effect Nov 12, would forbid companies from providing the underlying web services that make the app accessible in the US.

The US contends that TikTok is a national security threat because its ownership by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd gives the Chinese government access to the personal data of millions of Americans. US President Donald Trump has demanded that ByteDance find an American buyer for TikTok, and the company is seeking US approval for a deal to sell a stake in the app to Oracle Corp and Walmart Inc ahead of the Nov 12 deadline.

In Friday’s ruling, Beetlestone said the TikTok prohibitions likely exceed the government’s authority under the emergency powers act it has repeatedly invoked to justify the ban. She also wrote that the ban would cause “irreparable harm” to the TikTok users who sought the injunction, shutting down their “influencing activities.”

“Plaintiffs will lose the ability to engage with their millions of followers on TikTok, and the related brand sponsorships,” she wrote. The judge had previously ruled against the app users in September in an earlier phase of their case.