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12/08/2020

Report: U.S. denied permission to ban TikTok

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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A federal judge has reportedly ruled against the Trump administration’s attempt to ban the TikTok social media platform in the U.S.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Nichols issued a finding that the Commerce Department’s efforts to shut down the operations of TikTok within the U.S. exceed federal authority, deny First Amendment rights of TikTok users, and are “arbitrary and capricious.” A Nov. 13 federal court order had temporarily halted the ban.

While the U.S. government can still appeal this decision, it is a major victory for ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of global short video platform TikTok. Citing concerns over TikTok’s parent company ByteDance having connections to the Chinese Communist Party, the Trump administration has been seeking a ban on TikTok in the U.S. since September 2020.

North American companies have been pursuing deals with TikTok despite the uncertain status of a possible ban. In September, Oracle and Walmart received tentative U.S. approval for a joint 20% acquisition of a new business that would be called TikTok Global.  

Under this proposed merger, which would still need formal approval from both the U.S. and Chinese governments, TikTok Global would provide all TikTok services to users in the U.S. and most of the rest of the world, including Canada. In addition, Walmart would enter into commercial agreements to provide e-commerce, fulfillment, payments, measurement-as-a-service advertising, and other omnichannel services to TikTok Global.

And even with the possibility of a TikTok e-commerce partnership with Walmart, Canada-based Shopify recently began enabling retailers on its platform to create and connect their TikTok For Business accounts and deploy in-feed shoppable video ads directly within its site.