Trump administration to delay enforcement of TikTok ban

Donald Trump’s administration says TikTok poses a national security concern. Photo Courtesy: AFP

(The Guardian): The US government has announced it will delay enforcement of a ban on TikTok, granting the Chinese-owned social media app a temporary reprieve in its battle against the Trump administration.

The popular app was facing restrictions over national security concerns that would have effectively barred it from app stores in the US. The rules were expected to take effect on Thursday. But the US commerce department said it was holding off “pending further legal developments”, The Guardian reported.

The news came as the US justice department said it had appealed against a judge’s October order that blocked the restrictions. The app is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.

Donald Trump’s administration contends that TikTok poses national security concerns as personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by China’s government. TikTok denies the allegations.

The popular video-sharing app has said its future is in limbo ever since Trump tried to shut it down earlier this fall.

In August, Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok if it did not sell its US operations in 45 days. The move forced ByteDance to consider deals with several American companies before ultimately settling on a proposal to place TikTok under the oversight of the American companies Oracle and Walmart, each of which would also have a financial stake in the company. No deal has yet been finalized.

ByteDance had been given until Thursday to restructure ownership of the app in the US to meet national security concerns, but it filed a petition in a Washington court this week asking for a delay.

The company said in a Tuesday statement that it had asked the government for a 30-day extension because of “continual new requests and no clarity on whether our proposed solutions would be accepted”, but it was not granted.

TikTok had no immediate comment on the latest development but on 30 October said it was “deeply moved by the outpouring of support from our creators, who have worked to protect their rights to expression, their careers, and to helping small businesses, particularly during the pandemic”.