Trump’s Ban On TikTok Is Blocked By Courts

U.S. President Donald Trump’s ban on popular social media app TikTok was temporarily blocked by a federal judge over the weekend.

The court ruling is a blow to the government in its showdown with the popular Chinese-owned app that Trump says threatens national security. The ban, which was scheduled to go into effect at 11:59 p.m. in New York on Sunday, would have removed TikTok from the app stores run by Apple and Google, the most widely used marketplaces for downloadable apps.

People who don’t yet have the TikTok app wouldn’t be able to get it, and those who already have it wouldn’t have access to updates needed to ensure its safe and smooth operation. TikTok is used regularly by 19 million Americans.

ByteDance, the company that created and owns TikTok, is fighting the Trump administration in court even as it pursues its approval for the sale of a stake in the U.S. business to Oracle Corp. (NYSE:ORCL) and Walmart (NYSE:WMT). Trump has called for bans on both TikTok and WeChat, owned by China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd., arguing that the apps could give China’s government access to millions of Americans’ personal data.

The bans are part of an increasingly hard line that Trump has taken on Beijing as the U.S. presidential election approaches. A lawyer for TikTok told the judge at a virtual hearing on Sunday that the ban was irrational given that ByteDance is in talks to strike a deal the president himself has demanded. ByteDance says Trump is exceeding his authority with the ban.

As part of the court filing, the U.S. cited FBI Director Christopher Wray’s assessment that China poses the "greatest long-term threat to our nation’s information and intellectual property."