TikTok Wants To Be Its Own Economy

Illustration for article titled TikTok Wants To Be Its Own Economy

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

TikTok is apparently the latest platform to make the shift from social media site to a glorified digital mall. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that TikTok has started floating the idea of in-app shopping to brands over in Europe, hoping to hook young EU shoppers—and their wallets—in the process.

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According to the report, this e-shopping feature is still in the early stages, and there isn’t a set deadline when TikTokers across the globe will start seeing it crop up into their feeds. One of the brands with access to this prototype—Hype, a streetwear label that’s right at home with TikTok’s Gen-Z audience—confirmed to Bloomberg that these tests are ongoing, but wouldn’t go into details.

Bloomberg was able to see a screenshot of what Hype’s initial TikTok Shop might look like and from its description, it sounds pretty similar to the so-called “product catalogs” you’ve probably seen on your Instagram feed. These storefronts—at least at this early stage—are under a brand’s main account page, and they show off a range of merch with product pictures and prices.

These features are TikTok’s latest attempt to get a slice of the “social commerce” pie, which is the insider term for shopping that gets squeezed into a given social media platform. By the end of 2020, some analysts estimate that folks across the country spent close to $475 billion, and that number’s expected to shoot towards $585 billion by the end of this year.

TikTok has spent the better part of three years trying to make headway among the e-commerce crowd. In 2019, Levi’s became one of the first retailers to use a specific TikTok product that would slap a “shop now” button onto its ads, which would then direct those that click on it to Levi’s store. Then in 2020, TikTok began testing a similar button that would let individual creators direct their own audiences to the store of their choice. In that case, the ad revenue would be split between the creator featured in the ad, and TikTok itself. Meanwhile, the company is continuing to score deals with major names like Walmart and Elf Cosmetics, both equally ready to drop their ad dollars on the platform if it can promise some sales.

The big difference between what these brands were offered before versus what Bloomberg’s report is describing is where this shopping happens—within TikTok’s app, rather than on some brand’s (or creator’s) site.

In a statement to Bloomberg, the company said that it had been “testing and learning with e-commerce offerings and partnerships,” and that it’s “constantly exploring” new ways to add value to its users. The company added that it will “provide updates as we explore these important avenues for our community of users, creators and brands.”

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Apparently, one of those avenues is focused on earning money instead of spending it. The same day that Bloomberg’s report came out, sources familiar with the company told Axios about a pilot program designed to help brands use TikTok to scout for potential job candidates to hire. Users can present their resume in the form of a TikTok (naturally), and Axios reports that TikTok will ask these candidates to share these video resume’s on their public profiles.

Reddit’s Reportedly Cooking Up Its Own Clubhouse-Like Voice Chat Feature

Illustration for article titled Reddit's Reportedly Cooking Up Its Own Clubhouse-Like Voice Chat Feature

Photo: Olivier Douliery (Getty Images)

Rumor has it the front page of the internet may be the latest online platform cooking up a social audio feature a la the voice-only chat app Clubhouse.

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Reddit is quietly working on incorporating moderator-run voice chats onto the platform, a person familiar with the matter said in a Friday Mashable report. In an interview with the outlet, the source described the feature’s development as confidential and still in its early stages.

If this voice chat feature ever does see the light of day, odds are it’ll roll out under Reddit’s “power-ups” banner, an initiative the company launched last year to experiment with new subscription-based features specific to individual subreddits.

In its initial announcement, Reddit listed several examples of these features, called power-ups, such as the “ability to upload and stream up to HD quality video,” “video file limits doubled,” and “inline GIFs in comments,” among others. Subreddits can unlock these perks after enough of their members purchase monthly power-up subscriptions, with the minimum threshold for each community determined by its size.

At the time, Reddit made it crystal clear it wanted to hear from users for future suggestions.

“The new experiment helps create a framework that allows us to add ‘nice to have’ features for subreddits,” Reddit said in its announcement in August. “We are starting with a few handpicked features and expect to add more as we get input from you and the communities that have opted into our early testing.”

Given all the buzz about social audio services these days, I suspect “voice chat” scored pretty high on the list of suggestions. Though I can understand why Reddit may want to keep things under wraps for now given how royally it screwed up trying to introduce chat rooms last year. TLDR: Reddit pushed out the feature with little forewarning and seemingly zero thought about moderation, as subreddit mods couldn’t opt-out of chats or control them. It was a disaster. 

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Reddit did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment, but we’ll be sure to update this blog when they do.

Time will tell if this audio chat craze is a flash in the pan, but what is clear is that the landscape is quickly becoming crowded. Clubhouse has inspired several copycats since its launch in March 2020, with Twitter, LinkedIn, Slack, and TikTok’s parent company, Bytedance, all reportedly rushing to get in on the action with their own audio chat features. Facebook also began beta testing for its Clubhouse clone, a web-based Q&A platform that it’s calling Hotline, this week.

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Clubhouse Reportedly Thinks It’s Worth $4 Billion Now

Illustration for article titled Clubhouse Reportedly Thinks It's Worth $4 Billion Now

Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP (Getty Images)

Clubhouse, which led a round of investment in January at a reported valuation of around $1 billion, now believes it is worth four times that, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

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A new round of funding the audio chat app is negotiating with investors may value the company at around $4 billion, sources told the news agency, although it’s “unclear how much Clubhouse is seeking to raise or which investors are participating.”

Bloomberg noted that Clubhouse quadrupling its own valuation in the span of just a few months would reflect the “astronomical expectations” of investors, which is a bit of an understatement given the company was only launched a year ago and has yet to prove livestreamed audio conversations can rake in that much revenue. As the Information noted back when Clubhouse hit a $1 billion valuation, there isn’t even an Android version of the app yet, and the company also isn’t making any money. Right now it’s still in the dollar-draining phase of its operation, trying to lure buzzy influencers with cash incentives in order to lay the groundwork towards monetization. There’s also the risk that Clubhouse’s live, public audio chat rooms are primarily so popular right now because the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is preventing its users from doing just about anything more interesting than attending virtual seminars.

Per Bloomberg, investment firm Andreessen Horowitz valued Clubhouse at around $100 million or so prior to January:

Andreessen Horowitz has been a major booster of the app. It initially valued the parent company at $100 million before the investment in January at 10 times that valuation. (Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, has invested in Andreessen Horowitz.)

Nothing is certain yet, and of course, news about impending deals tends to pop up when one of the interested parties wants to push publicity in their favor. So we’ll see.

Clubhouse used to be primarily popular in Silicon Valley, where it attracted certain members of the venture capital set, tech workers, and journalists focused on the industry—not to mention a coterie of bigots and far-right agitators attracted by its loose moderation policies. (It’s also become a hub for rich VCs and various hangers-on to endlessly complain about “cancel culture.”) It’s since proved to have wider appeal, boasting a particularly vibrant Black community responsible for much of Clubhouse’s cultural cachet, and according to the New Yorker, had some 10 million users in February. Brands are now flocking to the app, and an ecosystem of sister apps and audio tools designed specifically to be used with Clubhouse has begun to flourish.

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Even if Clubhouse doesn’t prove to be a flash in the pan, it’s going to have to compete with a huge and in some cases baffling array of apps that have eagerly jumped at the chance to clone its features. Facebook, TikTok parent company ByteDance, and Twitter, as well as business-world apps LinkedIn and Slack, are all rushing to launch their own audio chat features.

Apple Won’t Budge On Its New Privacy Updates, Even in China

Illustration for article titled Apple Won't Budge On Its New Privacy Updates, Even in China

Photo: Hector Retamal (Getty Images)

Earlier this week, stories emerged that some China-based advertising groups were coming up with their own clever workarounds for the new anti-tracking tech that Apple’s including with upcoming versions of iOS 14. Now it looks like Apple’s fighting back.

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On Thursday, the Financial Times reported that Apple sent off warnings to at least two Chinese apps that were caught trying to create their own unique identifiers for a given app—something that the Apple update pretty explicitly forbids.

The two apps in question were caught using something called the China Advertising Association ID (CAID for short), which was developed by the region’s trade association of the same name in late 2020 as a way to keep tracking and targeting iPhone users long after Apple’s updates went into effect. The Financial Times first broke the news that some of China’s biggest tech companies—like Baidu, Tencent, and Bytedance—were each allegedly running tests to implement the identifier. Collectively, these three digital giants reportedly control about 54% of China’s total ad spend.

It’s unclear what the Apple updates will do to the billions of dollars that spend translates into. Here in the U.S., we know that some major players in the ad-serving market—Facebook, in particular—have forecast some sort of significant revenue plunge from the iOS update, and have gone on a public PR spree over the past few months to defend their core business from Apple’s clutches.

We’ve written a bit about what these updates entail—and why Facebook’s on the offensive—in the past, but at the most basic level, the update would simply require apps to ask for user consent before using a specific advertising identifier (their so-called IDFA), that’s baked into their phone. Without IDFA access, these app devs don’t have the ability to track users outside their own app, which, as you can imagine, is pretty bad news for the companies that make bank off of doing exactly that. While some of them have tried to find their own underhanded ways to subvert the new Apple rules, there are actually some pretty strict guidelines outlawing just about all of them: no “fingerprinting,” no hashed data, and no creating identifiers of your own.

It turns out that’s what some of these China-based companies were attempting to do. TikTok’s parent company ByteDance, for example, uses an adtech platform called Ocean Engine to hoover up identifiers like a phone’s IMEI and hardware specs, both of which are then used to assign a unique CAID to the phone. If you look at the privacy terms for the CAID, it notes that this identifier is then designed to be stored on a server housed within the Advertising Association itself, meaning that any app using the Association’s built-in code could then call back that ID to market to whoever’s using their particular app.

If that sounds like it’s a violation of Apple’s strict guidelines here, that’s because it absolutely is. But as the initial Financial Times points out, Apple inexplicably hadn’t yet cracked down on the CAID, or any apps implementing it up. At least until now—per the Times, one developer who was caught sneaking it into their code was told that Apple found their app “collects user and device information to create a unique identifier for the user’s device,” and were given two weeks to update their app so it would be “compliant with the App Store Review Guidelines within 14 days.”

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Right now, it’s unclear whether the major players in the mobile-app space will flinch. While Gizmodo wasn’t able to confirm whether Tencent or Baidu has budged just yet, as of this writing, Bytedance’s developer documents still list the CAID as an optional identifier if a user’s IDFA is unavailable.

We’ve reached out to Apple for comment on its enforcement and will update if we hear back.

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What If Clubhouse, But With State Censorship, TikTok Owner ByteDance Ponders

Illustration for article titled What If Clubhouse, But With State Censorship, TikTok Owner ByteDance Ponders

Photo: Greg Baker/AFP (Getty Images)

China’s ByteDance, is planning on launching its own version of audio chat app Clubhouse for the Chinese market, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Clubhouse allows users to set up audio chat rooms, and is popular among Silicon Valley types (and a few far-right trolls who have taken advantage of its loose approach to moderation and hang out there with a clique of culture-war venture capitalists.) It was briefly available in China, but after users dared to bring up topics anathema to the Chinese government, including concentration camps for Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang province, relations with Taiwan, and crackdowns on the independence of Hong Kong, state censors banned the app in early February.

Many people in China nonetheless remain able to access the app using virtual private networks that allow them to bypass government firewalls, according to Bloomberg, though there remains concern Clubhouse’s infrastructure operators in China could still hand over user data.

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According to Reuters, at least a dozen apps cloning Clubhouse’s functionality have launched in China since, though generally with the expectation that they will employ more stringent moderation techniques to ensure users don’t buck the party line. There’s already an established market for similar apps in China like Zhiya, a music and video gaming-centric app popular with young people and that employs moderators to listen in on every conversation. ByteDance’s plans are in the early stages, sources told Reuters.

According to the South China Morning Post, ByteDance is also moving aggressively into the mobile gaming space dominated by rival firm Tencent Holdings.

Marco Lai Jinnan, the founder of China-based audio chat app Lizhi, told the SCMP any effort to replicate Clubhouse’s freewheeling environment by a Chinese firm is likely doomed to fail. Any prospective developers would need to make massive concessions to state speech regulators, he said. A firm named Inke built and launched a Clubhouse clone called Duihuaba in little over a week, enlisting chic celebrities like venture capitalists and fashion critics to promote it, but was quickly retracted with little explanation to the media other than that it was incomplete.

“It will be very difficult to create a Clubhouse-like app in China. The form of Clubhouse will most likely be altered in China,” Marco Lai told the SCMP. “The regulatory environments are different, content safety requirements are also quite different. So it’s hard to just replicate its existing form.”

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ByteDance isn’t the only company eyeing up Clubhouse and seeing a juicy font of potentially ripoff-able ideas. Twitter, which is rapidly rolling out new features, is rolling out an audio room tool called Spaces. Facebook is also reportedly building its own bastard version of the app.

TikTok to Pay $92 Million Settlement in Nationwide Class-Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Privacy Violations

Illustration for article titled TikTok to Pay $92 Million Settlement in Nationwide Class-Action Lawsuit Over Alleged Privacy Violations

Photo: Drew Angerer (Getty Images)

TikTok has agreed to fork over $92 million to settle a class-action complaint regarding alleged privacy violations, including claims that the app and its predecessor, Musical.ly, collected personal data without users’ consent for tracking and ad targeting purposes.

The proposed settlement, which lawyers in the case estimated to be one of the largest privacy-related payouts in the U.S. to date, would include nearly all U.S. TikTok users and follows 21 class-action lawsuits that alleged TikTok engaged in a slew of scummy data harvesting tactics. The suit claims TikTok broke federal cybersecurity and privacy laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and Video Privacy and Protection Act, along with several state-mandated consumer protection laws in California.

It purportedly used facial recognition technology to quietly collect users’ biometric data such as their ethnicity, gender, and age under the guise of a preventative measure to keep minors off the app (The company has already paid out millions in fines and settlements after reports that it illegally collected and sold young users’ data). The suit also claims TikTok collected “highly sensitive personal data” without users’ permission and then sold that data to third-parties.

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TikTok has denied this most recent lawsuit’s allegations and claims it agreed to the settlement to avoid a drawn-out legal battle.

“While we disagree with the assertions, rather than go through lengthy litigation, we’d like to focus our efforts on building a safe and joyful experience for the TikTok community,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a press statement to multiple outlets.

Under the settlement’s conditions, TikTok has agreed to remain in compliance with applicable laws and refrain from hoovering up any user data that isn’t explicitly disclosed in its privacy policy. That includes recording user’s biometric information, collecting GPS or clipboard data, and sharing U.S. users’ data overseas.

The proposed settlement is set to go before U.S. District Judge John Lee of the Northern District of Illinois for final approval, per NPR. TikTok did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment.

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TikTok Slammed in Europe Over ‘Hidden Advertising’ to Kids

File photo of the TikTok building in Culver City, California.

File photo of the TikTok building in Culver City, California.
Photo: Valerie Macon (Getty Images)

The European consumer advocacy group BEUC filed a complaint against TikTok on Tuesday, including allegations the Chinese-based social media platform isn’t been transparent about why it needs to collect some data on users. The complaint also claims TikTok is deploying “hidden advertising” aimed at children, according to the group’s press release.

While most of the concerns around TikTok in the U.S. revolve around user data and the ability of the Chinese government to monitor content, BEUC’s formal complaint with the European Commission on Tuesday includes allegations which have received little attention in mainstream coverage in the U.S., including fears that kids are receiving marketing messages in covert ways.

A press release from BEUC explains the organization’s concerns about hashtag challenges and other marketing initiatives on TikTok, emphasis ours:

TikTok fails to protect children and teenagers from hidden advertising and potentially harmful content on its platform. TikTok’s marketing offers to companies who want to advertise on the app contributes to the proliferation of hidden marketing. Users are for instance triggered to participate in branded hashtag challenges where they are encouraged to create content of specific products. As popular influencers are often the starting point of such challenges the commercial intent is usually masked for users. TikTok is also potentially failing to conduct due diligence when it comes to protecting children from inappropriate content such as videos showing suggestive content which are just a few scrolls away.

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TikTok received extreme scrutiny in the U.S. under the Trump regime but the Biden administration has signaled it’s ready to let the social media company operate without a forced sale of its American wing. But concerns about TikTok aren’t going away, and Europe’s consumer watchdogs and advocacy groups are taking a different approach to applying scrutiny on the app, which is tremendously popular with kids.

“In just a few years, TikTok has become one of the most popular social media apps with millions of users across Europe. But TikTok is letting its users down by breaching their rights on a massive scale,” Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, said in a press release.

“We have discovered a whole series of consumer rights infringements and therefore filed a complaint against TikTok,” Goyens continued.

TikTok and its parent company Bytedance did not respond to a request for comment early Tuesday.

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“Children love TikTok but the company fails to keep them protected. We do not want our youngest ones to be exposed to pervasive hidden advertising and unknowingly turned into billboards when they are just trying to have fun,” Goyens wrote.

The focus on how children interact with the app is perhaps appropriate, given the app’s user base, but it’s not at all clear that concerns about marketing to children would gain my traction in the U.S. American regulators have cracked down on tobacco and unhealthy food advertising to kids in recent decades, but there are relatively few protections for American kids compared to their European counterparts.

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“Together with our members – consumer groups from across Europe – we urge authorities to take swift action,” said Goyens. “They must act now to make sure TikTok is a place where consumers, especially children, can enjoy themselves without being deprived of their rights.”

Biden Administration Finally Puts the TikTok ‘Sale’ Out of Its Misery

Illustration for article titled Biden Administration Finally Puts the TikTok Sale Out of Its Misery

Photo: Valerie Macon (Getty Images)

Good morning my old nemesis, the ghost of the TikTok ban past.

The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that the Biden administration has “shelved” the TikTok-Oracle-Walmart partnership deal indefinitely, according to sources familiar with the matter. While any number of news cycles about TikTok’s threat to national security might be coming down the pike, the new administration seems to at least be resetting U.S. priorities after Trump’s madcap race to force a sale of the teen-focused video app.

If you’ll recall last summer, Trump accused TikTok of vacuuming up U.S. user data and sending it to the Chinese Communist Party. There’s no evidence that it has done so, and TikTok’s owner ByteDance has adamantly denied the charge and maintained that it doesn’t store any U.S. user data in China. But there is reason to believe it has posed a security risk; Human Rights Watch has reported that ByteDance has an internal committee for the CCP, and it’s headquartered in Beijing, which means that it would have to hand over data to the CCP if asked. In 2019, lawmakers called for a national security investigation. ByteDance was not immediately available for comment on the status of CCP ties.

We know for certain that TikTok has most definitely helped millions of Americans cling to sanity during the past year and shown us the interior of celebrity mansions. It also quite possibly enabled hoards of K-pop fans to book tickets for a very poorly-attended Trump rally, after which Trump fixated on banning the app, a talking point which conveniently rolled into his trade war rhetoric.

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In August, Donald Trump overplayed his hand on TikTok with a sloppy executive order demanding that ByteDance divest from its U.S. assets (implicitly, to sell to a “very American” company) or else cease doing business in the U.S. Trump issued a rapid deadline (and later, more deadlines when the initial one was not met) for the sale. The “deal” eventually offered by ByteDance gave Walmart and Oracle minority stakes, and Oracle, control of its cloud services and security, but left ByteDance an 80% stake in TikTok Global—a far cry from the total divestiture Trump had been gunning for. The Justice Department battled ByteDance in court for several months, until the administration seemed to shift its legal priorities towards losing a raft of election fraud lawsuits. U.S. courts blocked the ban a few times, and, a week after the election, the Department of Commerce announced that it would not immediately enforce the ban.

In December, sources told Reuters that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which was responsible for overseeing the deal, was still in talks with ByteDance. A few days later, a federal judge found that Trump likely overstepped his emergency powers to ban downloads in the first place.

The Biden Administration is not denying a potential threat. Moreover it seems to be starting with a clean slate, planning to conduct a more holistic review and—if it comes to it—a presumably more legally-sound plan to handle potential meddling with U.S. user data. National Security Council spokesperson Emily Horne told the Journal that the administration intends to “develop a comprehensive approach to securing U.S. data” that includes Chinese apps and software. “In the coming months, we expect to review specific cases in light of a comprehensive understanding of the risks we face,” Horne said.

As the Wall Street Journal notes, Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and White House coordinator on China policy Kurt Campbell once jointly warned that the Trump administration’s vague and aggressive approach might create a “dangerous cycle of confrontation.”

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Anyway great news for all of us, who live vicariously through the teens. Children are the future.

TikTok, Like Us, Wants To Know If It’s Banned Or Not

Illustration for article titled TikTok, Like Us, Wants To Know If Its Banned Or Not

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Staff (Getty Images)

TikTok filed an injunction in a U.S. Appeals Court late Tuesday night in an attempt to halt an order by the Trump administration that would force the app to shutter.

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In the August 14 executive order, Trump directed the app to prohibit all new downloads beginning on Sept. 30, with parent company ByteDance being forced to fully divest from TikTok by November 12. But as that deadline quickly approaches, the company says it’s heard radio silence from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFUIS) on whether or not the divesture is actually set to take place.

“Facing continual new requests and no clarity on whether our proposed solutions would be accepted, we requested the 30-day extension that is expressly permitted in the August 14 order,” the company said in a statement. “…without an extension in hand, we have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights.”

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TikTok has filed two previous injunctions against the executive order, both of which were successful, but getting the CFIUS order thrown out entirely will likely be a much higher legal bar to clear.

In its statement, the company noted that it has, “…actively engaged with CFIUS in good faith to address its national security concerns, even as we disagree with its assessment.”

“In the nearly two months since the President gave his preliminary approval to our proposal to satisfy those concerns, we have offered detailed solutions to finalize that agreement – but have received no substantive feedback on our extensive data privacy and security framework,” the statement continued.

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A previously discussed deal between ByteDance, venture capital firm Oracle and Walmart was approved by President Trump back in September, but in the intervening weeks there’s been no word on whether or not the deal is still in play.

TikTok Lives to See Another Day as Yet Another Federal Judge Strikes Down Trump’s Ban

Illustration for article titled TikTok Lives to See Another Day as Yet Another Federal Judge Strikes Down Trumps Ban

Photo: Olivier Douliery (Getty Images)

There’s a new development in the seemingly neverending game of chicken between TikTok and President Donald Trump over a nationwide ban. On Friday, a federal judge in Pennsylvania blocked the Trump administration from outlawing U.S. transactions with Tiktok, which was set to take effect Nov. 12.

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Unlike last month’s ruling, where another federal judge blocked a previous deadline for the ban, Friday’s case was brought by three TikTok creators rather than the company itself. They argued that a federal ban on the popular short-form video app would infringe upon their First Amendment rights to free expression. The White House is seeking to outlaw the app, which is owned by the China-based company Bytedance, out of concern that it’s secretly siphoning U.S. user data to Beijing.

U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone ruled that Trump overstepped his authority by invoking the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to impose sanctions against TikTok. The judge went on to say that the administration failed to provide sufficient evidence of what, if any, risk TikTok poses to national security.

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“The Government’s own descriptions of the national security threat posed by the TikTok app are phrased in the hypothetical,” Beetlestone wrote. She granted a preliminary injunction, finding that “the risk presented by the government outweighs the public interest in enjoining” the ban.

The TikTok creators—Douglas Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alec Chambers—filed suit against the Trump administration on Sept 18., arguing that the Nov. 12 ban would cut them off from earning income through the app. Per Variety, Rinab said that her sponsored videos rake in between $5,000 and $10,000 per video, and Chambers said he took in $12,000 for promoting Extra gum in one of his videos.

TikTok itself has also taken the Trump administration to court over the ban. On Sept. 27, a federal judge blocked a nationwide ban scheduled to go into effect just a few hours later, ruling that Trump“likely exceeded the lawful bounds” of his authority by invoking emergency economic powers. The Department of Justice filed to appeal that decision earlier this month.

While this war’s still far from over, TikTok said it was please to win another battle in its fight against Trump’s ban.

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“We are deeply moved by the outpouring of support from our creators, who have worked to protect their rights to expression, their careers and to help small businesses, particularly during the pandemic,” TikTok’s interim global head Vanessa Pappas said in a press statement about Friday’s ruling. “We stand behind our community as they share their voices, and we are committed to continuing to provide a home for them to do so.”