A federal judge on Sunday temporarily blocked US President Donald Trump’s ban that would have removed Tiktok from American app stores starting from midnight Sunday, court files showed.
Why it matters: The court order grants the popular video-sharing app a reprieve amid ongoing deal negotiations to settle a US regulatory dispute. However, it doesn’t cover a broader ban to spin off Tiktok’s business in the US which will take effect in November, meaning the Chinese-owned company’s struggle in the US has not yet concluded.
Details: US District Judge Carl Nichols granted in part Tiktok and its Chinese parent Bytedance’s motion for an injunction of the Sunday ban, but he denied Tiktok’s appeal to block an executive order from Trump demanding the company to divest from its American assets, according to court documents. The order will go effect on Nov. 12.
- Tiktok said in a statement Sunday that the company is “pleased” that the court agreed with its legal arguments. “We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees,” the company said.
- “At the same time, we will also maintain our ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the president gave his preliminary approval to last weekend, into an agreement,” it said in the statement.
- The US Commerce Department, one of the defendants of the case, said in a statement that it would “comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so, but intends to vigorously defend the executive order and the secretary’s implementation efforts from legal challenges,” according to The New York Times.
Context: Tiktok and Bytedance on Wednesday afternoon filed for a preliminary injunction to halt the Sunday ban. On Thursday, Judge Nichols ordered the Trump administration to postpone the ban or file court papers to defend the move by Friday afternoon.
- The executive order mentioned in the filing was first issued by Trump on Aug. 14, which gave Bytedance 90 days to either spin off or sell Tiktok’s US operations.
- The company is close to a deal with US software maker Oracle and retail giant Walmart to set up a new company called Tiktok Global in which the two American companies own a combined 20% stake to settle Trump’s demands. Trump has said he had approved the deal “in concept.”
- The deal is still subject to opposition from Beijing after the Chinese government revised a set of restrictions on technology export.