The shutdown had been scheduled to go into effect on Thursday. But a U.S. district judge in Philadelphia issued an injunction on Oct. 30, granting a request from three TikTok creators who argued that the shutdown would infringe their First Amendment rights.
“The Department is complying with the terms of this Order,” the department said in a notice in the Federal Register, adding that the ban would not go into effect “pending further legal developments.”
The Department of Justice filed a separate notice in the case on Thursday indicating that it would appeal the judge’s order to the Third Circuit. If the appeals court vacates the injunction, the TikTok ban could go into effect.
TikTok, which claims it has more than 100 million U.S. users of the short-form video app, has been seeking its own injunction that would block the shutdown in a separate case in Washington, D.C.
The Commerce Department issued an order on Sept. 18 that would block downloads of the TikTok app beginning Sept. 20, and order a full shutdown of the app on Nov. 12. The department cited concerns that TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, would allow China’s government to access data on U.S. users. TikTok, meanwhile, has argued that user data is secure and the Trump administration is pursuing a political agenda against the company.
TikTok has argued that President Trump relied on “anti-Chinese rhetoric” during his campaign, and that the idea of banning the app came about after TikTok users bragged of coordinating to book tickets to a Trump rally in Tulsa, Okla., making it appear that attendance would be much greater than it actually turned out to be. TikTok contends that the resulting embarrassment prompted the administration to explore the ban.
The download ban was postponed by a week in September to allow time for ByteDance to transfer the company to a new U.S. entity with ownership stakes held by Oracle and Walmart. That deal has stalled, however, and in the meantime U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols blocked the download ban from taking effect.
The full shutdown was still set to take effect on Thursday until Judge Wendy Beetlestone issued her order on Oct. 30.
TikTok is also in court seeking to block a divestment order from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.
Update, Nov. 13: The Treasury Department announced Friday that CFIUS had granted a 15-day extension of the original divestment order.
“This extension will provide the parties and the Committee additional time to resolve this case in a manner that complies with the Order,” said Treasury spokeswoman Monica Crowley.