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Executive Orders on Pause: WeChat and TikTok Bans Temporarily Suspended

On Saturday, two actions put a stop, at least temporarily, to the U.S. shutdown of the popular social media apps WeChat and TikTok.


On September 19, 2020, a California Federal Magistrate Judge issued a nationwide injunction on the implementation of Executive Order 13942: an EO that could effectively block WeChat in the United States. The court’s order states that the plaintiffs in the case, a group of WeChat users, have established the elements for preliminary-injunctive relief with respect to their First Amendment claims.

However, the judge specifically states that neither plaintiffs’ claim questioning whether the EO and related regulations are outside the scope of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act appears to have sufficient merit. In short, the power IEEPA grants the U.S. Government appears unaffected by this challenge. We expect the U.S. Government to challenge the injunction order.


Separately, the U.S. Commerce Department issued a brief statement that it will delay the prohibition of identified transactions pursuant to Executive Order 13942, related to the TikTok mobile application, until September 27, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. That order appears to be predicated on the successful discussions between TikTok’s Chinese Parent, ByteDance, and the a group U.S.-company buyers who would take a larger equity share of TikTok’s operations in the United States.

We expect rapid development in both of these matters and will report here as the situation unfolds.

Copyright © 2021, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 265



About this Author

Reid Whitten, partner, Sheppard Mullin Law Firm

Reid Whitten works with clients around the world to plan, prepare, and succeed in global business transactions.

In the areas of U.S. and international sanctions, export and defense export controls, and anti-corruption regulations, he supports clients in detecting and deterring potential compliance issues as well as conducting and defending investigations and enforcements. Mr. Whitten also advises on anti-dumping, anti-money laundering, and anti-boycott regulations.

Mr. Whitten is a thought leader on cross-border business regulations. He teaches a seminar on The Law of...

Yuanmei Lu Corporate Attorney Sheppard Mullin Shanghai, China

Yuanmei Lu is an associate in the Corporate Practice Group in the firm’s Shanghai office. 

Areas of Practice

Yuanmei practices equity financing and fund formation.  Her experience includes representing institutional investors in connection with their acquisition and financing of technology, media and telecommunications companies, as well as advising emerging companies and venture-backed companies through multiple rounds of financing.  Yuanmei also focuses her practice in the formation and operation of domestic and international...

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