Court Battles

Judge temporarily blocks Trump’s TikTok ban

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A federal judge on Sunday temporarily blocked President Trump’s TikTok ban just hours before it was set to go into effect, NPR reports.

Judge Carl Nichols, of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, halted the ban after TikTok’s attorneys argued that Trump’s ban infringes on rights to free speech and due process. Information about his opinion was not immediately available.

Attorneys for the company called the popular video app a “modern day version of the town square” in a telephonic hearing Sunday, according to the news outlet. The company will now be allowed to continue to operate in the U.S. at least until the case goes to a full hearing.

Trump’s ban would have forced the removal of TikTok from smartphone app stores and end app updates, meaning no new users could download the app and it would eventually become nonfunctional.

TikTok had filed for an injunction to halt the app store ban on Wednesday. The ban was a result of an executive order signed by Trump last month targeting ByteDance’s video platform as well as the WeChat messaging app owned by China’s Tencent technology company.

The president has also issued a separate order requiring ByteDance to sell the app to a U.S.-based company, which resulted earlier this month in TikTok’s purchase by Oracle.

TikTok’s attorneys have rejected claims spread by the Trump administration of national security concerns related to its Chinese ownership, including allegations that China’s government is allowed access to user data.

John Hall, one of the company’s attorneys, said Sunday that shutting down the service in the U.S. equated to closing a public political forum just weeks before the presidential election.

“It would be no different than the government locking the doors to a public forum, roping off that town square,” he said.

“Telling two-thirds of the country, who are not members of this community, that you’re not going to be permitted in,” he continued, according to NPR. “The government would be taking this extraordinary action at the very time that the need for free, open and accessible communication in America is at its zenith — 37 days before a national election.”

Updated at 9:10 p.m.

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