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TikTok files injunction on eve of ban

Short-form video social media app TikTok has requested a court injunction against the US government’s impending ban.

In August, the Trump administration said it would ban the company from operating in the country and make doing business with the firm – which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance – illegal unless it divested its US operations.

Microsoft was initially in the running, but ByteDance rejected its offer and instead opted to sell up to Oracle, the cloud company run by Trump-supporting Larry Ellison.

Trump had tentatively approved a deal, but questions still remain over whether ByteDance would relinquish control to Oracle, and whether China would approve such a transaction.

In the approval, TikTok was given a stay of execution to September 27, but the company has requested an injunction against this ban on the eve of its implementation.

TikTok has also sued the administration over the original ban, and it now wants an expedited hearing on whether Trump had the authority to impose such measures – especially now that Tencent-owned messaging app WeChat was allowed to continue operate on the grounds that a ban would inference on users’ first amendment rights to free speech.

TikTok said that it has “made extraordinary efforts to try to satisfy the government’s ever-shifting demands and purported national security concerns.” These measures include a drastic overhaul of its ownership and structure.

TikTok, with its largely gen-z base, has emerged as a key platform for the upcoming election, with campaigners using it to endorse voting. This was not lost on the company, which in its injunction said that “Hundreds of millions of Americans who have not yet downloaded TikTok will be shut out of this large and diverse online community – six weeks before a national election.”