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Judge offers TikTok last-minute reprieve over US ban

Judge offers TikTok last-minute reprieve over US ban

Preliminary injunction stops ban that would have gone to effect on Monday

A US judge has granted a preliminary injunction against a ban on TikTok that could have gone into effect on Monday.

The Trump administration has sought to ban the popular video-sharing app over fears that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance could be forced to turn over US users’ data to the Chinese government. TikTok rejects those claims. The reprieve means that Americans can still download the app on Apple and Android app stores as the court considers the ban’s legality.

President Donald Trump signed two executive orders in early August seeking to force ByteDance to divest its stake in TikTok US operations, where the app has 100 million users. The deadline was extended to Monday give time to TikTok to hammer out a sale deal with US investors.

A week ago, Oracle and Walmart announced they would acquire a joint 20 per cent in TikTok Global, a new entity that would take over the app’s operations in the US and other key western markets.

However, the key terms of the deal are now in dispute, with conflicting statements over who controls what. The Chinese government has thrown the deal into further turmoil after it said it would need to approve any deal involving TikTok.

Read: Oracle, ByteDance issue conflicting reports on TikTok ownership

The court’s decision is the latest episode in an ongoing battle between the Trump administration and Chinese tech firms. Huawei has largely been shut off from US technology, putting its future at stake. Also on the US’s radar is the Chinese super-app WeChat which the US government has sought to ban.

Last weekend, a federal magistrate judge in San Francisco put in place an injunction on the Commerce Department’s ban on WeChat, pending further court deliberations.

Read: TikTok sale in key western markets imminent: reports

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