A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has temporarily blocked a Trump administration executive order banning the Chinese-owned TikTok application from U.S. app stores.
In his ruling released Sunday, Judge Carl J. Nichols sided with TikTok, preventing a ban that was to take effect at midnight ordering companies such as Google, Apple and Android to pull the video-sharing app from its digital shelves.
Nichols, however, upheld the second set of restrictions against the app that are set to go into effect in November, at least for now.
The Commerce Department said in a statement that the government will comply with the judge’s decision but it “intends to vigorously defend the E.O. and the secretary’s implementation efforts from legal challenges.”
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“The E.O. is fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests,” the statement said.
Nichols said his reasoning behind his decision will be sealed until at least 11 a.m. Monday when the parties will have the chance to review it and decide whether it should be unsealed.
President Donald Trump announced the executive orders on Aug. 6 to ban TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance, and messaging app WeChat, developed by the Chinese company Tencent Holdings, citing national security concerns.
The Trump administration has argued that since TikTok is Chinese-owned, the private data of Americans who use the app could end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
ByteDance filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s efforts to ban the app on Aug. 24, arguing in court filings that the ban would violate First Amendment rights.
“We are pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban,” TikTok said in a statement. “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.”
The ruling follows the U.S. government last week tentatively approving a deal for Oracle and Walmart to acquire a 20% stake in the new company, Global ByteDance.
The sale of the company was prompted by Trump threatening to ban the video-sharing social media application if it didn’t sell its U.S. business.
The decision on Sunday came after a judge in San Francisco last week granted a preliminary injunction preventing Trump’s ban against WeChat from going into effect, also over First Amendment rights.
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