A federal judge has blocked the White House’s ban on TikTok downloads in the United States just hours before the ban was set to take effect on Sunday night.
Washington D.C. District Judge Carl Nichols agreed to TikTok’s request for a temporary injunction against the U.S. ban after claiming that the Trump administration “likely exceeded the lawful bounds” of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. This is the Act the administration used to justify its ban on TikTok.
Nichols cited how the IEEPA does not give the president any authority to ban “the importation or exportation of ‘information or informational materials” or “personal communication, which do  not involve a transfer of anything of value.”
Furthermore, Nichols sided with TikTok when the video app argued the ban will cause “irreparable economic and reputational harm” to the app as another reason to temporarily halt the ban.
TikTok is still under threat of effectively shutting down by November 12 if a deal to sell its U.S. operations isn’t complete by that deadline. TikTok asked Nichols for relief on that front as well, but Nichols said that matter should be handled by another proceeding.
Original Story: The Department of Commerce has ordered that downloads for mobile apps TikTok and WeChat be banned in the US from Sunday.
American users will not be able to download the apps after September 20. Those with the apps already downloaded will still be able to use them, but they won’t be able to access any future updates for TikTok or WeChat, which may damage their functionality.
The apps will be fully banned and made illegal on November 12 if President Trump’s security concerns with TikTok and WeChat are not resolved by that date. Oracle was recently negotiating to become TikTok’s ‘trusted tech partner’ in the U.S. – if that deal goes ahead, the ban can be reversed.
You can read the full release from the Department of Commerce here, in which Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross details the reasons behind the order. According to Ross, this order has been issued to “safeguard the national security of the United States.”
“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S. Today’s announced prohibitions when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality.”
This move follows Executive Orders signed by Trump in August which sought to block TikTok and WeChat’s operations in the US if they were not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies, ByteDance and Tencent.
Microsoft was in discussions to purchase TikTok in the United States after the app fell under scrutiny from the Trump administration. Microsoft has since said that TikTok operator ByteDance would not sell them its US operations.
Jordan Oloman is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.