On Sunday, a federal judge partially granted TikTok’s request for a temporary injunction preventing the banning of the app in the iOS store and the Google Play store. Mere hours before the ban was set to begin, Judge Carl Nichols, who was appointed by President Trump, issued his opinion and order referencing that President Trump most likely exceeded his authority.
TikTok, the hit video-sharing social media platform, has been under attack from President Trump for the last few months. President Trump has consistently stated that TikTok is a national security risk. TikTok’s parent company, Byte Dance, is based in Beijing and had rumors swirling around it that American users’ data could wind up with the Chinese government. On August 6th, President Trump issued an executive order banning transactions with TikTok. TikTok initially had 45 days to either sell its U.S. interest to another company or be banned. However, President Trump extended TikTok’s time to complete the deal until November 12. TikTok’s failure to sell its U.S. interest would prevent U.S. app stores from distributing the app beginning on September 20th. This would prevent new users from downloading the app and could cause security issues for current users. Furthermore, if TikTok still cannot come to a deal by November 12, the app will be completely banned in the U.S.
Oracle Corporation, a multinational computer technology corporation headquartered in California, has been in talks with Byte Dance regarding a deal to acquire the U.S. interest of TikTok. Byte Dance reached a tentative deal with Oracle to create a new entity called “TikTok Global” which would be based in the U.S. and would host U.S. servers. As a result of this tentative deal, and after getting President Trump’s blessing, the September 20th deadline was extended until September 27th at midnight. Unfortunately, Oracle and Byte Dance have not been able to iron out all of the details yet. So, TikTok had to seek judicial relief.
That’s when Judge Nichols’s Order temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to ban TikTok from U.S. app stores. While this is a win for TikTok, the fight is not over. Judge Nichols did not block the full TikTok ban still planned for November 12th. TikTok can briefly celebrate this victory, but November 12th is quickly approaching. TikTok will have to be prepared to go toe-to-toe with the government once again.