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Government must delay or defend TikTok app store ban by Friday: Judge

A district court judge on Thursday said that the Trump administration must either delay a ban on TikTok from American app stores or file legal papers defending the move by Friday afternoon.

The Commerce Department last week issued an order banning app stores from letting users download the short-form video app last which was set to go into effect this past Sunday before being pushed back one week.

TikTok filed for an injunction to halt the app store ban on Wednesday. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Carl Nichols said the government must file a response to the request or delay the order by 2:30 p.m. EDT on Friday.

The Commerce order was the result of an executive order signed by President Trump last month targeting TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese-based ByteDance, and Tencent’s WeChat messaging app.

The ban on TikTok was pushed back a week by the Commerce Department after the tentative approval of a deal to address the national security concerns raised in Trump’s order.

The deal, submitted to the Treasury Department for approval, would see a new American company called TikTok Global be formed that will own most of the social media app’s worldwide operations.

Friction over the ownership structure of that company threatens to derail the deal despite the approval in principle. ByteDance claims it will own 80 percent of TikTok Global, while Oracle claims the Chinese company will play no part.

TikTok’s request for an injunction on the app store ban may signal uncertainty about getting a deal sealed before the end of the day Sunday.

WeChat was granted an injunction on its ban by a federal judge in San Francisco earlier this week, suggesting precedent for such a move. TheHill

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