TikTok gets clemency as US delays enforcement of ban


The U.S. government announced Thursday that it would delay enforcing the TikTok ban, saying it would comply with a court order in favor of the Chinese-owned social media sensation.

The successful short-form video app was banned due to national security concerns expressed by US officials, but the Commerce Department said it was being delayed due to a court order issued by a federal judge on October 30.

“The department is complying with the terms of this order,” he said in a statement, adding that the ban “has been imposed and will not go into effect pending further legal developments.”

On Thursday, the government appealed the judge’s decision.

The news comes amid a torrent of litigation following President Donald Trump’s decision to ban the fast-growing app unless it is sold to American investors.

A federal court in Pennsylvania on Oct. 30 blocked the Trump administration from carrying out the ban, in a case brought by the “creators” of TikTok.

A separate case brought by TikTok is pending in another court in the US capital, which last month prevented the US government from enforcing a ban on new downloads of the app.

TikTok’s parent company ByteDance had been given until Thursday to restructure ownership of the app in the United States to address national security concerns, but this week it filed a petition in a Washington court asking for a delay.

The company said in a statement Tuesday that it had asked the government for a 30-day extension due to “continuing new requests and unclear whether our proposed solutions would be accepted,” but it was not granted.

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The Trump administration has been looking to transfer ownership of TikTok to a US company to allay security concerns, but no deal has been struck.

ByteDance and TikTok have proposed creating a new company with IT company Oracle as a technology partner and retail giant Walmart as a business partner.

TikTok has 100 million users in the United States.

The Trump administration has said that TikTok must become a US company controlled by US investors to avoid a ban. But any plan would likely need approval from Beijing, which has refused to give up its social media star.

Trump and his aides have claimed that TikTok and its parent company can be used to collect data on Americans for Chinese espionage, a claim rejected by the company.

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


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