The ban was supposed to go into effect at midnight, with the United States saying the video app poses a threat to national security.
A judge in Washington, DC, late Sunday, temporarily blocked a controversial order from the Trump administration that was set to block downloads of the popular Chinese-owned TikTok short video app at 11:59 pm (Monday 03:59 GMT). .
District Judge Carl Nichols, a candidate for President Donald Trump who joined the court last year, said he had issued a temporary injunction at the request of TikTok, which the White House has accused of being a threat to national security. .
Nichols has refused “at this time”
Nichols’ detailed written opinion should be published as soon as Monday.
John E Hall, a TikTok attorney, argued during a 90-minute Sunday morning hearing that the ban was “unprecedented” and “irrational”.
“How does it make sense to impose this app store ban tonight when negotiations are underway that could make it superfluous?” Hall asked at the hearing. “This is just punitive. This is just an abrupt way to hit the company… There is simply no urgency here.
US officials say they are concerned that personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by the Chinese government’s Communist Party (CCP).
Deal under review
ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, is a “spokesperson” for the party and “committed to promoting the CCP’s agenda and messaging,” a government brief said.
ByteDance said last week that it has reached a preliminary agreement for Walmart and Oracle to take stakes in a new company, TikTok Global, which would oversee operations in the United States. Negotiations continue on the terms of the agreement and to resolve concerns in both Washington and Beijing.
The agreement has yet to be reviewed by the US Government’s Foreign Investment Committee (CFIUS).
“Really, no one wins if there is a ban at the end,” Jim Anderson, a technology analyst at SocialFlow, told Al Jazeera, noting that the US market is TikTok’s second largest. “The US loses, China loses, consumers loses, ByteDance and TikTok loses, so you’d like to think there is a deal here.”
The Justice Department said a preliminary injunction allowing Americans to continue downloading the TikTok app “would interfere with a formal national security judgment by the president; alter the landscape with respect to the ongoing CFIUS negotiations; and continuing to allow the flow of sensitive and valuable user information to ByteDance for all new users. “
TikTok argued that the restrictions, amid growing tensions between the US and China, “were not motivated by genuine national security concern, but rather by political considerations related to the upcoming general election.”
Another U.S. judge, in Pennsylvania, on Saturday rejected an offer from three TikTok content creators to block the ban, while a judge in California blocked a similar order from going into effect on WeChat, a proprietary messaging app. of the Chinese Tencent.