In an emergency ruling on Sunday, Carl Nichols of the U.S District Court for the District of Columbia postponed a Trump administration order that would have banned the TikTok from U.S. smartphone app stores around midnight the same day.
This being said, a more comprehensive ban still remains to be scheduled for November, and that it will not be affected by the Sunday decision. At the emergency ruling, lawyers representing the popular video-sharing app TikTok argued that the administration’s app-store ban would infringe on the company’s First Amendment rights and do irreparable harm to the business.
A ban that was proposed by President Donald Trump earlier this year, it had been brought to the forefront that TikTok and its parent company ByteDance were a threat to national security. The company was then given an ultimatum, stating that it must either sell its U.S. operations to U.S. companies or be barred from the country indefinitely. Following this, numerous tech giants in the US were eyeing for the possible takeover, out of which software giant Oracle, in conjunction with Walmart, agreed to be TikTok’s technology partner in the United States.
The President had also banned China’s WeChat app from App Stores, but this move too was paused by a California judge, over the weekend. As reported by NPR, TikTok stated, “We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees. 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.”
Following the Sunday hearing, TikTok lawyers also argued that a ban on the app would affect the ability of tens of thousands of potential viewers and content creators to express themselves every month, and halt their income in the process. In addition, US lawyers argued that a ban would prevent existing users from automatically receiving security updates, eroding national security even further.
As of now, the Oracle-Walmart deal is has been approved by President Trump, but hasn’t been finalized due to the gaps in ownership claims. ByteDance said last week that it will still own 80 percent of the US entity, but Oracle stated that Americans will be the majority and ByteDance will have no ownership in TikTok Global.