Appeals court schedules Dec. 14 hearing on blocked U.S. TikTok new user ban

David Shepardson
·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: A 3D printed TikTok logo is placed on a keyboard in front of U.S. flag in this illustration

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A federal appeals court said on Wednesday it will hear oral arguments on Dec. 14 on the government's appeal of an order that blocked a ban on Apple Inc and Alphabet’s Google offering TikTok for download in U.S. app stores.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington on Sept. 27 blocked the Commerce Department order hours before it was to prohibit new downloads of the Chinese-owned short video-sharing app.

The appeals panel consists of Judge Judith Rogers, Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins. All three were nominated by previous Democratic presidents.

The Trump administration last week extended to Friday a deadline for Chinese TikTok parent ByteDance to sell TikTok's U.S. assets. The Trump administration contends TikTok poses national security concerns as the personal data of U.S. users could be obtained by China’s government. TikTok, which has over 100 million U.S. users, denies the allegation.

The administration previously granted ByteDance a 15-day extension of the order issued in August. President Donald Trump on Aug. 14 directed ByteDance to divest the app's U.S. assets within 90 days.

Under pressure from the U.S. government, ByteDance has been in talks for months to finalize a deal with Walmart Inc and Oracle Corp to shift TikTok’s U.S. assets into a new entity.

ByteDance made a new proposal aimed at addressing the U.S. government’s concerns, Reuters reported last week.

The U.S. Treasury said last week the extension was granted to review a recently received "revised submission."

ByteDance made the proposal after disclosing on Nov. 10 that it submitted four prior proposals, including one in November, that sought to address U.S. concerns by "creating a new entity, wholly owned by Oracle, Walmart and existing U.S. investors in ByteDance, that would be responsible for handling TikTok’s U.S. user data and content moderation."

U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone on Oct. 30 blocked another aspect of a Commerce Department order scheduled to take effect Nov. 12 that would have effectively barred TikTok from operating in the United States.

Beetlestone enjoined the agency from barring data hosting within the United States for TikTok, content delivery services and other technical transactions.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler)