Judge temporarily stops Trump ban on TikTok downloads

Technology

TikTok has been granted a temporary reprieve against a ban that would have seen it removed from US Android and iOS stores. The app filed for a preliminary injunction last week, following a similar successful move by WeChat.
Judge Carl Nichols of United States District Court for the District of Columbia temporarily blocked the TikTok ban shortly before it was due to come into effect on September 27. While this would have removed TikTok from Google’s and Apple’s stores, the app would have continued to work on devices where it was previously downloaded. The company argued that such a move would be a violation of the First and Fifth Amendments.

“We’re pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban,” it said in a statement.

Judge Nichols declined to stop the broader set of restrictions coming into effect on November 12 that will stop American companies from doing business with TikTok, effectively killing the app in the US.

Hours before Judge Nichols’ decision, a group of TikTok influencers who have almost 7 million followers between them had their legal move to stop the ban rejected by a court in Pennsylvania. Doug Marland, Cosette Rinab, and Alec Chambers argued that access to the app was essential to their livelihoods.

Earlier this month, WeChat’s ban was temporarily blocked following a petition from a group of users, citing “serious questions” about whether it was a first amendment violation.

TikTok says that the Trump administration has agreed in principle to its deal with Oracle and Walmart that would create a new, US-based company called TikTok Global, with the app hosted from US servers. But coming to an agreement that satisfies both Washington’s security concerns and Beijing’s demands isn’t proving easy. ByteDance claims it will retain 80 percent ownership, while Oracle says ByteDance will have “no ownership” of the new company.