A judge in Pennsylvania has rejected a request from three TikTok content creators to temporarily block a ban on the app set to go into effect Sunday night, which would bar new downloads from Google and Apple’s app stores in the US.
Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alec Chambers said they “earn a livelihood from the content they post on TikTok,” saying the platform’s “For You” page is unique among social media platforms, because its algorithm allows “little-known creators to show their content to a large audience,” according to the court filing.
Marland has 2.7 million TikTok subscribers, Rinab has 2.3 million, and Chambers has 1.8 million. The three argued that they would “lose access to tens of thousands of potential viewers and creators every month, an effect amplified by the looming threat to close TikTok altogether.”
“They will still be able to create, publish, and share content for their millions of current followers”
Judge Wendy Beetlestone said that the ban would pose “undoubtedly an inconvenience,” but said in denying the request that the three had failed to prove they would suffer “immediate, irreparable harm” if new downloads are barred, since the app would remain operational for current subscribers —at least for the time being—if the ban takes effect. “They will still be able to create, publish, and share content for their millions of current followers,” the judge wrote in her opinion.
Earlier this month, a judge in the Northern District of California rejected a similar request for a temporary restraining order against the ban brought by a TikTok employee. Patrick S. Ryan, a technical program manager in TikTok’s Mountain View, California office, also claimed the ban would have affected his income: “Ryan is concerned that he could be prosecuted for receiving a paycheck from TikTok ... or alternatively that TikTok will decline to pay him for fear of violating the Executive Order,” according to court filing.
Judge Vince Chhabria said both scenarios represented “an unlikely chain of events,” and that Ryan was not likely to suffer irreparable harm without a restraining order.
A judge in Washington D.C. is expected to decide today whether to block the Trump administration’s ban on TikTok. Late Friday, the Justice Department filed its opposition to TikTok’s request for an injunction against the ban, saying the injunction would “infringe on the President’s authority to block business-to-business economic transactions with a foreign entity in the midst of a declared national-security emergency.”
TikTok argued in its request for an injunction that the Trump administration’s order violates its right to due process and freedom of speech.
President Trump originally gave parent company ByteDance until September 15th to sell the video-sharing app, citing security concerns, then ordered app stores to ban it effective September 20th. TikTok got a last-minute reprieve after the president approved a tentative deal with Oracle last Sunday.
A hearing is set for 9:30AM ET before U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington.
Update: September 27th 9:51AM ET: Adds details about judge’s ruling in separate Patrick Ryan case