Judge gives Trump Administration until Friday to postpone or defend TikTok ban

A federal judge has asked the Trump Administration to postpone a rapidly approaching ban on TikTok, or defend the policy in court, by Friday afternoon.

The ban, which will take effect at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27, would see TikTik made unavailable for download from the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. On Wednesday, TikTok filed an emergency injunction in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in an attempt to stop it.

At a hearing on that filing, District Court Judge Carl Nichols challenged arguments from a Trump Administration lawyer that Sunday’s ban would do no damage to TikTok, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Notwithstanding the government’s arguments here, I don’t think that [the ban] merely preserves the status quo,” Judge Nichols said, adding that the action would block hundreds of thousands of new TikTok users.

The judge said that if the federal government doesn’t voluntarily postpone the ban by Friday, he would hold a hearing on Sunday morning to determine whether to grant TikTok’s emergency injunction.

Although originally slated to take effect on Sunday, Sept. 20, U.S. Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross delayed the ban’s enactment for one week upon news of a deal that would see Oracle and other U.S. partners acquire a majority stake in TikTok.

Under the terms of the deal, Oracle, Walmart, and other U.S. partners would receive a 20% stake in a newly formed TikTok Global company headquartered in the U.S. Four of the five board members would also be American. Current TikTok owner ByteDance insists that it will maintain an 80% share of the company.

Negotiations are still underway between the companies, as well as the U.S. and Chinese government. Trump needs to sign off on the deal, as does Beijing. But China has implemented trade restrictions that could complicate the export of technology, and has said that it would rather see TikTok shut down in the U.S. than sold to a company there.

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