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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

TikTok has filed in D.C. federal court a request for a preliminary injunction against President Trump's executive order banning the app.

Why it matters: The Chinese-owned TikTok is in the crosshairs of mounting tensions between the U.S. and Beijing, culminating in Trump issuing a ban of the app unless it can be sold to American owners. The result has been a messy process that is still waiting final approvals.

The big picture: The move comes on the heels of fellow Chinese app WeChat successfully obtaining a similar halt in court.

Details: In the filings, TikTok argues that Trump's ban is illegal because the International Emergency Economic Powers Act does not extend to "'personal communication' and the international flow of 'information or informational materials.'"

  • "The government’s conduct is neither reasonable nor reasonably explained, and so is arbitrary and capricious in multiple respects," TikTok also says, adding that the ban therefore violates the the Administrative Procedure Act.
  • The company also argues that the ban infringes on its First and Fifth Amendment rights, and that it exceeds the Department of Commerce's authority.

By the numbers, per the filings:

  • 93 million monthly active users in the United States, as of Aug. 18.
  • As of July 2020, TikTok had 689 million global active users, and by Aug. 18, it had 2.43 billion global downloads.
  • Until rumors of a ban cropped up on July 1, TikTok was adding about 424,000 new daily U.S. users each day.
  • State Secretary Pompeo's announcement that Trump was considering banning TikTok resulted in a drop in 500,000 daily active users.
  • TikTok estimates that 40–50% of its daily active users won't return even if the ban is lifted after two months, and 80-90% will not return if it's in place for six months.

TikTok declined to comment beyond the court filing (the documents do not include all supplemental portions).

Editor's note: The story has been updated with additional details from the court filings.

Go deeper

Dec 18, 2020 - Technology

The data that apps use to track you, according to Apple


Data: Apple; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Apple this week posted new privacy "nutrition labels" on apps in the iOS App Store, giving users a look at how different apps stack up according to Apple's standards.

The big picture: The labels show that generally, social media apps collect more kinds of data than messaging apps.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Jan. 18. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.