Attorneys for TikTok argued Sunday morning during a dial-in hearing that a ban by the Trump administration would be “devastating,” and urged a judge to block it until the entire case can be decided. TikTok’s attorney said the ban that would prevent new downloads of TikTok from Apple and Google’s app stores at 11:59PM ET today was essentially “shutting down speech.” But the government’s lawyers argued that First Amendment claims by TikTok don’t apply, because the Trump administration considers the app a national security risk.
On August 6th, President Trump issued an order saying the security concerns about TikTok and WeChat, both China-based apps, constituted a national emergency. He invoked the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which lets him ban transactions between US and foreign entities,
President Trump then issued an order August 14th giving ByteDance 90 days to
“Online censorship goes far beyond the issue of free speech, it’s also one of protecting consumers and ensuring they are informed of their rights and resources to fight back under the law,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement earlier this week. “State attorneys general are on the front lines of this issue and President Trump wants to hear their perspectives.”
The White House summit builds on an executive order that Trump signed just a few months ago, which targeted a key legal shield granting tech companies broad immunity from lawsuits for the videos, photos and posts shared on their services, as well as their content moderation decisions. Tech companies have long denied the allegations of bias, which have been made with little evidence, and a prominent tech industry group has challenged the constitutionality of that order.
An escalation of anti-conservative bias claims could drum up support among