A few hours before the decision took effect, Magistrate Carl Nicholas ruled in favor of TikTok.
The federal judge of the District of Columbia thus granted the request of the lawyers of the Chinese firm, which wanted a temporary block of the possible ban while the two parties face each other in court.
US officials said in a statement that this was “a preliminary injunction” and assured that they would appeal the decision.
“The Government will comply with the court order and took immediate steps to do so, but it intends to vigorously defend the executive order” that ordered the ban, can be read in the official note, released on Sunday.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross added that he will continue his “efforts to implement” the Trump decision.
The executive order is “fully consistent with the law and promotes legitimate national security interests,” he insisted.
Nichols’ decision is yet another episode of a dispute that began in August, when U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order threatening to ban US TikTok if the company that owns it, China ByteDance, did not sell. your business in the country to US companies.
According to the President of the USA, the fact that the company is owned by a Chinese company poses a threat to national security due to links in China between the private sector and the Chinese Communist Party.
After weeks of negotiations, ByteDance reached an initial agreement with Oracle and Walmart, which received preliminary approval from the White House, but in recent days the talks were not bearing fruit and there was a real possibility that Trump would carry out his threat banning downloads of the application already this Sunday.
A few hours before the decision, on Sunday morning, Nichols held a hearing to hear the Government’s arguments, which claimed that TikTok is a threat because it collects data about its users and, being a Chinese company, cooperates with the secret services Chinese.
TikTok’s lawyers denied that the company shares data with Chinese authorities and argued that Trump’s goal is in reality to restrict freedom of expression.
“This case is about freedom of expression and freedom of communication. It is inherent in the business that has been targeted. TikTok is an application, but it is much more. It is a modern version of communication in the electronic age that has gained popularity especially in the pandemic ”, said one of the company’s lawyers, Alexander Berengaut.
If the judge had not agreed with ByteDance and the White House had decided to proceed with its threat, Google and Apple, which control the two major online mobile phone stores, would have been forced to withdraw TikTok from those stores in the United States States, in accordance with the presidential order.
TikTok, which has 100 million users in the US and 700 million worldwide, is one of the fastest growing social networks in recent years.