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US judge halts TikTok’s app store and Google Play Store ban

TikTok's future in the US is still uncertain now more than ever


TikTok’s US operations have been under jeopardy since the wake of national security concerns from the local government. New downloads of the Chinese short video sharing app, TikTok, were to be blocked starting today, but a US judge has halted the ban.

Yet, TikTok, together with its Chinese counterpart WeChat were to be blocked starting last week Sunday. Last week, a last-minute court order saved WeChat from the looming ban.

TikTok made a deal with Oracle to manage the data of US citizens while also getting a share in a new firm dedicated to serving users in the US called TikTok Global – along with Walmart.

If that’s not enough, the US Senate issued a new timeline for banning TikTok, which was to go in effect starting today. But thanks to a new order issued by a US judge, the app will continue to be listed on Apple’s App Store and Google’s Google Playstore.

“We’re pleased that the court agreed with our legal arguments and issued an injunction preventing the implementation of the TikTok app ban,” TikTok said in a statement.

TikTok’s argued that preventing new users from joining the app would go against their freedom of speech. Also, the company’s rights would have been breached by not giving them a chance to defend themselves.

Despite the reprieve, TikTok’s future in the US is still unclear. However, according to last week’s Sunday deal, the launch of TikTok Global might settle the app’s troubles in the US.

The US has long raised their concerns on the app’s operations on national security. According to the government, TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, is tied to the Chinese authorities.

Last week, TikTok announced a deal with Walmart and Oracle to take up to a 20% stake in the US-based spin-off arm of TikTok called TikTok Global. Although the entity will be operating separately, ByteDance will still hold majority shares, which means they’re entirely in control.

Trump has remained vocal, reiterating that he won’t accept any arrangement that doesn’t involve ByteDnace ceding control.

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Alvin Wanjala

Alvin is a freelance tech journalist. Talk to me via email at alvinwanjala[at]pm[dot]me

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