TikTok asks judge to block US from barring app for download

Trump signed an executive order giving ByteDance 90 days to relinquish ownership of TikTok


Reuters September 24, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON:

TikTok asked a US judge on Wednesday to block a Trump administration order that would require Apple and Google to remove the short video-sharing app for new downloads starting on Sunday.

A federal judge in San Francisco on Saturday issued a preliminary injunction blocking a similar Commerce Department order from taking effect on Sunday on Tencent Holdings’ WeChat app.

US officials have expressed serious concerns that the personal data of as many as 100 million Americans that use the app was being passed on to China’s Communist Party government.

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On Saturday, the Commerce Department announced a one-week delay in the TikTok order, citing “recent positive developments” in talks over the fate of its US operations.

TikTok said the restrictions “were not motivated by a genuine national security concern, but rather by political considerations relating to the upcoming general election.”

TikTok said if the order is not blocked “hundreds of millions of Americans who have not yet downloaded TikTok will be shut out of this large and diverse online community - six weeks before a national election.”

TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, said on Monday it will own 80% of TikTok Global, a newly created US company that will own most of the app’s operations worldwide. ByteDance added that TikTok Global will become its subsidiary.

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Oracle and Walmart have agreed to take stakes in TikTok Global of 12.5% and 7.5%, respectively. On Monday, Oracle said ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok would be distributed to ByteDance’s investors, and that the Beijing-based firm would have no stake in TikTok Global.

On Saturday, ByteDance, Walmart, and Oracle said they reached an agreement that would to allow TikTok to continue to operate in the United States after President Donald Trump said he had blessed the deal.

Trump signed an executive order on August 14 giving ByteDance 90 days to relinquish ownership of TikTok.

 

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