A federal judge halted the Trump administration’s executive order to ban downloads of Chinese-owned video-sharing platform TikTok from U.S. mobile-app stores on Sunday, hours before it was set to take effect.
The decision: Washington, D.C., District Judge Carl Nichols granted TikTok’s request for a temporary injunction against the ban, set to take effect at 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
It’s the latest development in an ongoing legal battle between TikTok and the Trump administration over the president’s efforts to restrict the app’s U.S. operations.
President Donald Trump ordered the TikTok ban in August, citing fears U.S. users’ personal information could fall into the hands of Chinese government officials. TikTok — owned-by Chinese tech giant ByteDance — sued the administration over the move, arguing the government violated its rights and that Trump’s actions “clearly reflect a political decision to campaign on an anti-China platform.”
During a hearing to review TikTok’s bid to halt the ban earlier Sunday, Nichols said it appeared that the Trump administration’s order was “largely a unilateral decision with very little opportunity for plaintiffs to be heard.”
Nichols did not grant relief at this time on a broader set of restrictions set to take effect on November 12.
The responses: “The Government will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so, but intends to vigorously defend the E.O. and the Secretary’s implementation efforts from legal challenges,” the Commerce Department said in a statement.
TikTok said in a statement that it is “pleased” with the decision to halt the ban, adding, “We will continue defending our rights for the benefit of our community and employees.”
The backdrop: The court ruling comes as the Trump administration separately conducts a national security review of a deal that would give U.S. companies Walmart and Oracle a stake in the popular app. Trump appeared to approve the proposal between ByteDance and the other companies last weekend, but on Monday said he would not support it unless Walmart and Oracle gained a controlling stake in the company. The deal the companies put forth would give Walmart and Oracle minority stakes in the new TikTok global.
TikTok has maintained throughout that it would not provide any U.S. user data to the Chinese government. The company has said its proposed deal with U.S. companies should satisfy the Trump administration’s national security concerns about the app.
TikTok said in its statement Sunday that the company “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.”
What’s next: A separate document in which Nichols lays out the reasoning behind the decision remains under seal. The two parties are set to review its contents Monday to determine if it can be unsealed. They then will meet by Wednesday at the latest to propose a schedule for next steps in the case, which will weigh whether Trump’s executive orders on TikTok violated the company’s rights.
View original post