US TikTok ban halted by Commerce Department

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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Short-video sharing app TikTok gained another victory in its quest against the US authorities as the Commerce Department refrained from banning the app from being downloaded in the country. 

Earlier, China-based ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company had asked the intervention from the US federal court for the stalemate and lack of clarity on its deal with Walmart and Oracle.

The Trump administration had given a window of 90 days ending on November 12 for ByteDance to secure a deal with the US firms. Even though the deal with Walmart and Oracle was agreed upon quite early including a proposal to have a US-based firm called TikTok Global to independently manage its US operations, no concrete progress was made to date, jeopardizing TikTok’s immediate future in the American market.

In its statement to the media, the Commerce Department said that it will not enforce an order that would have forced TikTok to shut down, citing an injunction from a federal judge in Pennsylvania last month.

Earlier in September, U.S. District Court Judge Wendy Beetlestone pressed the Commerce Department to not bar content delivery services, data hosting and other technical transactions within the United States.

The ruling came while the court was listening to the plea from three prominent TikTokers who argue that the app should be allowed to operate in America. During the siting, the US judge wrote that “the Commerce Department had likely overstepped its authority when it tried to ban transactions on the platform”.

The Trump committee set the deadline to divest the company of “any tangible or intangible assets or property, wherever located, used to enable or support ByteDance’s operation of the TikTok application in the United States”.