A US judge directed the Trump administration on Thursday either to delay its ban of the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok, set to go into effect on Sunday night, or file a brief on Friday defending its position.
The ruling by Federal District Judge Carl Nichols came at a hearing requested by TikTok’s owner ByteDance for a preliminary injunction halting the ban as it seeks approval from the government for its proposed deal with Oracle Corp and Walmart for its US operations.
Nichols, based in Washington, gave the administration until Friday afternoon either to agree to delay the ban or file a response to Bytedance’s motion for an injunction.
If the government opts not to postpone the ban, Nichols said he would hold a hearing on the motion on Sunday morning, Bloomberg News reported.
TikTok and ByteDance argue that the administration has acted without proper due process and in violation of the First Amendment.
The motion followed a legal proceeding by the messaging app WeChat, which is owned by the Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent, that won a reprieve from a ban of its own last weekend after WeChat lawyers made similar arguments.
In early August, President Donald Trump signed executive orders threatening the ban for new US downloads of both platforms, contending that they could be required to turn over the personal data they had about their users – TikTok has 100 million in the US – to Beijing, and that both were thus a risk to national security.
The original ban for TikTok was to go into effect last Sunday but the deadline was extended by a week after Trump reacted positively toward a deal TikTok was discussing with Oracle and Walmart.
That deal would allow the two US companies to partly own TikTok’s US assets and could ease the administration’s concerns over data privacy.
Negotiations remain fluid, as Trump later said he would rescind his support if ByteDance refused to give up control of the US operations.