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(FILES) This file photo illustration taken shows the logo of the social network application TikTok (L) and a US flag (R) (AFP)
(FILES) This file photo illustration taken shows the logo of the social network application TikTok (L) and a US flag (R) (AFP)

TikTok: US judge suspends Trump ban on downloads

District Judge Carl Nichols issued a temporary injunction at the request of TikTok

President Donald Trump’s ban on TikTok was temporarily blocked by a federal judge, dealing a blow to the government in its showdown with the popular Chinese-owned app that it says threatens national security.

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 don’t yet have the app wouldn’t have been 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 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."

It’s the second legal ruling against the Trump administration’s efforts to crack down on popular apps with Chinese owners. 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. WeChat users won a court injunction against a ban last week. The bans are part of an increasingly hard line Trump has taken on Beijing as the election approaches.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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