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Federal Judge Temporarily Blocks President Trump's TikTok Ban

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On Sept. 27, a federal judge granted an injunction to temporarily block President Trump’s ban on TikTok. The popular video-sharing app has raised security concerns for the U.S. because the Chinese government has access to user data.  

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Why does President Trump want to ban TikTok?

TikTok is an app where users post short videos. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, TikTok said that it has around 50 million U.S. users per day and 100 million monthly active users. 

Issues with the company are largely security-related. According to Fortune, Daniel Schwei, a Department of Justice lawyer, said, “The concern here is about data security risk and leaving data vulnerable to the Chinese government.”  

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The Wall Street Journal stated that the U.S. is focused on “wresting control of TikTok from Chinese owners over concerns that the data TikTok collects from U.S. consumers could be shared with the Chinese government, threatening U.S. national security.” 

TikTok is fighting to maintain control of the app and its technology. Yiming Zhang, the president of ByteDance, which owns TikTok, requested the hold on the injunction. 

While Judge Nichols’ official statement was sealed, during the hearing on Sept. 27 he expressed some concern that it was an infringement of the company’s due process rights.

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Plan to ban TikTok in the U.S.

Earlier in September, CNN reported that the Department of Commerce was going to ban TikTok downloads on Sept. 20 and increase restrictions on Nov. 12. The new restrictions would make it illegal for Internet companies to carry TikTok’s Internet traffic. 

President Trump gave his tentative approval to an agreement between TikTok, ByteDance, Walmart, and Oracle, which led the Department of Commerce to delay its initial deadline.  

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According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal would give a combined 20 percent in TikTok Global to Walmart and Oracle. However, Oracle and TikTok have both released contradictory messages regarding how ownership would break down if the deal goes through. 

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Arguments against the TikTok ban

Recently, Chinese media outlets criticized President Trump for his attempts to ban TikTok. According to Fortune, on Sept. 23, a China Daily opinion piece said, “What the United States has done to TikTok is almost the same as a gangster forcing an unreasonable and unfair business deal on a legitimate company.” 

Attorney John Hall, who's representing TikTok, said that banning the app from U.S. app stores would put Americans’ data at risk. Current TikTok users wouldn't be able to access regular security updates.  

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Hall also said that it didn't make sense to implement the ban while the potential deal's negotiations are ongoing.

Judge Nichols’ ruling came less than four hours before the ban was scheduled to take effect. 

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Is TikTok getting banned?

Daniel Schwei expressed his concern about the data security risk to Americans. He said, “It is a threat today, it is a risk today, and therefore it deserves to be addressed today." 

The Department of Commerce will comply with the injunction. However, according to CNN, the Department of Commerce's order banning TikTok was "fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests." 

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