TikTok urges court to block Trump's ban on app in US
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The Chinese-owned app -- which is wildly popular in the US -- has come under fire as tensions escalate between Beijing and Washington, with Trump threatening a ban if it is not sold to an American company.
Citing "confusing and contradictory statements about TikTok" by the president and other agencies, the motion for a preliminary injunction argues a ban is not motivated by "genuine national security concern, but rather by political considerations relating to the upcoming general election."
A deal to restructure ownership of the app was thrown into doubt Monday when Trump vowed to block a deal that allows its Chinese parent firm ByteDance to retain any control.
The comments cast doubt over an agreement that had appeared to cut a way through the threatened ban.
As competing statements deepened the mystery over the app's future, ByteDance earlier said TikTok Global plans to launch a "small round of pre-IPO financing" after which it would become an 80 percent-owned subsidiary of ByteDance.
Oracle and Walmart "are going to own the controlling interest," he added. "Everything is going to be moved into a cloud done by Oracle... and it's going to be controlled -- totally controlled by Oracle."
ByteDance said Thursday that it had applied for an export license with the commerce ministry, although it did not link the move to TikTok or any potential sale.
China's commerce ministry published new rules in August that added "civilian use" to a list of technologies that are restricted for export and require permission, which could complicate any sale.
Winning a temporary injunction typically involves convincing a judge that not intervening would allow irreparable harm to be done to a party likely to win the case.
The motion also speculated that TikTok had irked the president because of reports the app was used by his critics to snatch up tickets to a Trump rally in Tulsa to which they had no intention of going -- an event which belly flopped with significantly fewer people in attendance.