A judge in Washington has temporarily blocked a Trump administration order banning Apple and Google from banning Chinese-owned ticks from downloading at 11:59 p.m. Sunday night.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nicholas granted the TicTac owner’s Byddance’s preliminary injunctions to make the app available on U.S. App Stores, but refused “at this time” to prevent additional Commerce Department restrictions coming into effect from November 12. TickTalk claims to have the effect of making it impossible to use the app in the United States.
Nicholas’ detailed written opinion will be released soon on Monday.
The Commerce Department said in a statement that it “complied with the ban and took immediate action to do so.” The statement, which backed Trump’s executive orders seeking a Tic Tac Toe order and employer bydance, said it would withdraw its Tic Tac Toe operations within 90 days, without specifying whether the government would appeal.
Tiktok said it was pleased with the ban, adding that “we will also continue the ongoing dialogue with us to turn our proposal into an agreement that the President gave his initial approval last week.”
The firm’s attorney, John Hall, said the ban was “punishable” and would shut down a public platform used by billions of Americans.
In a written summary filed before the trial, TicTac advocates said the ban was “arbitrary and capricious” and “undermined data security” by blocking updates and fixes to an application used by approximately 100 million Americans.
The company said the ban was unnecessary as negotiations were already underway to restructure the TicTac ownership to address the national security issues raised by the administration.
TikTalk is estimated to have 100 million users in the US and 700 million worldwide, making it one of the largest operators in the social media space.
Government prosecutors have argued that the president has the right to take national security measures, and that the ban is necessary because Tiktok has ties to the Chinese government through its parent company ByteDance.
Bite Dance is a government acronym called “Mouth Peace” for the Chinese Communist Party and is “committed to promoting the CCP’s agenda and message.”
ByteDance said on September 20 that it had reached a preliminary agreement to acquire a stake in a new company, Walmart Inc. and Oracle Corp TickTock Global, which will oversee US operations after Trump said he had given his “blessing” to the deal. Negotiations are ongoing on the terms of the agreement and resolving issues from Washington and Beijing.
The agreement is yet to be reviewed by the US Government Foreign Investment Commission (CFIUS).