The Trump administration has until Friday to either delay an order banning Chinese-owned TikTok from US app stores or file legal papers defending the ban, a district court judge ruled Thursday.
The US Commerce Department’s order banning new downloads of the popular short form video app is set to take effect Sunday. The government must file a response to TikTok’s request for a temporary injunction or delay it by 11:30 a.m. PT, US District Judge Carl Nichols said.
If the government doesn’t postpone the download ban on Friday, Nichols said he would hold a hearing on Sunday morning to determine whether to grant TikTok’s request to temporarily halt the ban.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order in August that bars any US transactions with TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance. Trump, citing national security concerns, announced his intention to ban TikTok in August unless it was purchased by a US company.
Trump’s executive order said the data TikTok collects “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information,” and could allow China to track the location of federal employees and contractors. TikTok says it has never turned over US user data to the Chinese government and wouldn’t do so even if it were asked.
The administration has issued two executive orders concerning TikTok. An Aug. 6 order would have barred any US transactions with ByteDance and was set to go into effect on Sunday. A separate executive order, issued Aug. 14, ordered ByteDance to sell its US operations by Nov. 12.
A deal for Oracle and Walmart to acquire stakes in the US operations of TikTok appeared in jeopardy as Trump said he would revoke his initial approval of the deal if ByteDance retained a stake in a newly created company that would house the US operations.
The three companies said over the weekend they had struck a deal that gives Oracle and Walmart a combined 20% stake in a new company, TikTok Global, that would provide service to American users and run on Oracle’s cloud computing service.
Neither the White House nor ByteDance immediately responded to requests for comment.