A US judge in Washington temporarily suspended a Trump administration order preventing Apple and Alphabet’s Google search engine from enabling the download of the online TikTok app for short clips that was due to go into effect at 11.59 p.m. Sunday.
Late Sunday night, US District Court Judge Carl Nichols approved a preliminary injunction that TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, sought to allow the app to continue to exist in US app stores.
But the judge refused “for the time being” to suspend the additional restrictions of the Commerce Department due to take effect on November 12 and which TikTok said would make the app impossible to use in the United States.
In a rare virtual hearing, the judge heard defenses related to freedom of expression and the impact of the ban on national security.
TikTok attorney John Hall said the ban was “punitive” and“arbitrary” and closed down a public forum used by nearly 100 million Americans.
ByteDance considered the ban unnecessary because negotiations are underway to restructure Tik Tok ownership in the United States and address the national security issue raised by the Trump administration.
On the other hand, government attorneys said that President Trump has the right to take measures related to national security, noting that the ban is necessary due to TikTok’s links with the Chinese government through the parent company, ByteDance.
A government statement described the Chinese company as “a spokesperson” for the Chinese Communist Party and “committed to promoting the ideas and agenda” of the party.