The TikTok download ban in the US has been temporarily stalled by a judge in Washington.
As reported by The Guardian, District Judge Carl Nichols granted a preliminary injunction to TikTok owner ByteDance. The action means that the app will still be available for download on US app stores, but it remains vulnerable to transaction bans that will come into play on 12 November.
Those transaction bans were supposed to happen earlier in September following an executive order issued by US President Donald Trump on 6 August, but the deadline was extended. Security concerns, censorship over content sensitive to the Chinese government, and potential disinformation campaign usage were cited as the reasons for the move against the Chinese app.
For now, the Commerce Department has said via a statement that it “will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so”, although The Guardian noted that the statement also defended the ban order.
The injunction coincidentally comes not long after several TikTok creators requested a Pennsylvanian judge to temporarily block the download ban.
Currently, TikTok is undergoing discussions pertaining to a deal which would affect its ownership status in the US in a manner that would allow it to remain unbanned in the US. The deal will see a US-based company called TikTok Global being formed, with Oracle and Walmart having a 12.5% and 7.5% stake respectively.
While we had initially assumed that the deal automatically meant that TikTok was safe, its current messiness means that that might not be the case. As noted by CNBC, Bytedance says that it will own 80% of the company, whereas Oracle says that the Chinese company won’t have ownership. The former's statement, when made known to Trump, caused the US president to reveal his dislike for it "just conceptually" and made him say, "I’m not prepared to sign off of anything. I have to see the deal.” There were also conflicting details on whether ByteDance would provide access to TikTok’s source code to Oracle.