Federal judge halts Trump administration ban on TikTok downloads

A federal judge on Sunday blocked a Trump administration ban on downloads of the popular video app TikTok — just hours before it was due to go into effect, according to reports.

US District Judge Carl Nichols issued a temporary injunction in federal court in Washington, DC, putting the brakes on President Trump’s move to shut down the Chinese-owned app over claims that it may compromise national security.

The decision allows companies like Google and Apple to continue offering downloads of TikTok on their app stores — something that would have been banned as of midnight.

But the ruling does not address wider restrictions sought by the administration to shut down the app in the US in November.

Trump has given his preliminary endorsement for a sale of TikTok’s US operations to Oracle and Walmart, who would own 20 percent of the app under the name TikTok Global, Bloomberg Law reported.

The president has set a November deadline for that sale to happen — although the two corporate giants are feuding over their potential shares.

However, Chinese state media has denounced the deal.

“What the United States has done to TikTok is almost the same as a gangster forcing an unreasonable and unfair business deal on a legitimate company,” the government-controlled China Daily wrote last week.

In court Sunday, a lawyer for the app called the administration’s move against the company “irrational,” according to Bloomberg.

“How does it make sense to impose this app-store ban tonight when there are negotiations underway that might make it unnecessary?” attorney John Hall argued during a virtual court hearing in the case.

TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, filed a court challenge to the pending ban on Wednesday, calling the proposed ban a “pretext for furthering the president’s broader campaign of anti-China rhetoric in the run-up to the US election.”

But Trump has argued that the app has direct ties to officials in Beijing and could be used to siphon personal information from American TikTok users that could then be used against the country.

With Post wires

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