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U.S. judge blocks Trump administration’s ban on new TikTok downloads

A U.S. judge has temporarily blocked a Trump administration order that was set to bar Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google from offering Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok for download at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday (September 27).

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington said in a brief order late on Sunday he was issuing a preliminary injunction to prevent the TikTok app store ban from taking effect.

Nichols, a nominee of President Donald Trump, declined “at this time” to block other Commerce Department restrictions set to take effect on Nov. 12 which would ban technical and business arrangements that are crucial to the proper functioning of the app.

Nichols’ detailed written opinion is expected to be released as soon as Monday (September 28).

The Commerce Department said in a statement it “will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so.”

The statement, which defended the TikTok order and Trump’s executive order demanding owner ByteDance divest its TikTok U.S. operations within 90 days, did not specify whether the government would appeal.

John E. Hall, a lawyer for TikTok, argued the ban was “unprecedented” and “irrational” during a 90-minute Sunday morning hearing.

TikTok said it was pleased with the injunction and added it “will also maintain our ongoing dialog with the government to turn our proposal, which the president gave his preliminary approval to last week, into an agreement.”

ByteDance said on Sept. 20 it had struck a preliminary deal for Walmart Inc and Oracle Corp to take stakes in a new company, TikTok Global, that would oversee U.S. operations after Trump said he had given the deal his “blessing.” Negotiations continue over the terms of the agreement and to resolve concerns from Washington and Beijing.

The deal is still to be reviewed by the U.S. government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

(Production: Bob Mezan)

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