Muscat – News agencies:
TikTok has been granted a last-minute reprieve from Donald Trump’s executive order banning the service from US app stores, after a judge in Washington DC temporarily blocked the ban from taking effect on Sunday evening.
After an unusual Sunday morning hearing, U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols granted a preliminary injunction against the ban on new downloads of the video-sharing network, which would have gone into effect at 11:59 p.m. in Washington. The judge declined to grant an injunction on a separate set of prohibitions scheduled for Nov. 12 that are designed to further curb the app’s use in the U.S.
TikTok’s owner, ByteDance Ltd., requested the hold after the president ordered the app out of American stores unless the company sold a stake in its U.S. operations to a domestic buyer. The ban would have removed TikTok from stores run by Apple Inc. and Google’s Android, the most widely used marketplaces for apps. People who didn’t yet have the app wouldn’t have been able to get it, and those who already had it wouldn’t have access to updates needed to ensure its safe and smooth operation. TikTok has been downloaded by more than 100 million Americans.
“We’re pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban,” the company 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.”
Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s general manager, also tweeted support for the judge’s decision.
Government lawyers argued that the president had a right to take national security actions, and said the ban was needed because of TikTok’s links to the Chinese government through ByteDance. A government brief called ByteDance a “mouthpiece” for the Chinese Communist party and said it was “committed to promoting the CCP’s agenda and messaging”.
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