The Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed motions in federal court seeking a pause in litigation involving TikTok and WeChat until the new administration of President Joseph Biden has time to consider former President Trump’s August 6, 2020 Executive Orders declaring that these Chinese social media apps are a national security threat and prohibiting certain transactions with these entities. Federal judges previously halted Trump’s ban from taking effect, and the apps are currently still permitted to be downloaded and used in the United States.
In each case, DOJ has asked the courts to “hold this case in abeyance, with status reports due at 60-day intervals.” The motions, unopposed by counsel for TikTok and WeChat, note that the Department of Commerce plans to evaluate the underlying record justifying those prohibitions. After such a review, the government will be “better positioned to determine whether the national security threat described in the President’s August 6, 2020 Executive Order, and the regulatory purpose of protecting the security of Americans and their data, continue to warrant the identified prohibitions.” Each motion states that a review of the prohibitions at issue “may narrow the issues presented or eliminate the need for this Court’s review entirely.”
For previous information on the litigation, see Update of October 5, 2020. For more details on the Executive Orders prohibiting transactions with TikTok and WeChat, see Update of August 7, 2020.