U.S. Judge Halts Trump’s TikTok Ban, Hours Before It Was Set To Start

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In this photo illustration a mobile phone screen displays TikTok logo in front of a keyboard.

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Trump’s TikTok Deal: What Just Happened And Why Does It Matter?

«Telling two-thirds of the country, who are not members of this community, that you’re not going to be permitted in,» Hall told the judge. «The government would be taking this extraordinary action at the very time that the need for free, open and accessible communication in America is at its zenith — 37 days before a national election.»

U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Daniel Schwei countered that any free speech concerns are «completely irrelevant» to the president’s national security prerogatives.

«The concern here is about data security risk and leaving data vulnerable to access by the Chinese government,» Schwei said. «This is the most immediate national security threat. It is a threat today.»

The White House fears China’s authoritarian regime could gain access to the data TikTok collects and use it to spy on or blackmail Americans. Trump officials have called the chief executive of TikTok parent company ByteDance a «mouthpiece» of China’s Communist Party. So far, U.S. officials have not offered direct proof that China has ever sought TikTok data.

TikTok, for its part, says it would deny any data requests from Beijing, pointing to how Americans’ data is stored mostly in the U.S. and decisions about the data are made by a U.S.-led team.

New DOJ Filing: TikTok’s Owner Is ‘A Mouthpiece’ Of Chinese Communist Party

The judge handing a temporary victory to TikTok follows the actions of another judge, in Northern California, who paused enforcement of the president’s ban of a separate Chinese-owned app, WeChat. In that case, the judge found that the Trump administration offered «scant evidence» to support its national security fears.

Even a ban of six months, TikTok has said, would be devastating. TikTok’s interim global head Vanessa Pappas estimated that 90% of TikTok users would quit if the app went dark for that amount of time.

Trump has indicated that he would back off his push to outlaw TikTok if its U.S. operations were sold to an American company. Software company Oracle and Walmart received tentative approval from the president in a deal to rescue the app, but since then, ByteDance and the American companies appear at odds over the new company’s ownership structure.

Trump Casts New Doubt On Any Deal To Keep TikTok Alive In U.S.

Any agreement would need the blessing of the Chinese government, something that looks increasingly in doubt. On Saturday, the Global Times, an outlet of China’s Communist Party, called Trump’s crackdown on TikTok a «mafia-style robbery of a lucrative Chinese business» and that the Oracle deal was not likely to be approved.

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