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US judge blocks Trump administration ban on new TikTok downloads

WASHINGTON: A judge on Sunday stopped the US from banning downloads of TikTok, freeing the video snippet-sharing mobile app to gain new users - for now.

District Judge Carl Nichols issued a temporary injunction at the request of TikTok - which the White House has called a national security threat, alleging that its Chinese parent firm is tied to Beijing.

An order from US President Donald Trump sought to ban new downloads of the app at the end of Sunday, but allowed until Nov 12 for a second phase aimed at stopping TikTok from operating in the US entirely.

The judge denied TikTok's request to also suspend the Nov 12 ban, but noted that his decision was "for now".

The Commerce Department said in a statement it "will comply with the injunction and has taken immediate steps to do so".

APPEAL?

The statement, which defended the TikTok order and Mr Trump's executive order demanding owner ByteDance divest its TikTok US operations, did not specify whether the government would appeal.

The injunction comes at a time when negotiations are underway to hammer out terms of a preliminary deal for Walmart and Oracle to take stakes in a new company, TikTok Global, that would oversee US operations.

TikTok said it was pleased with the injunction and added it would maintain its "ongoing dialogue with the government to turn our proposal, which the president gave his preliminary approval to last week, into an agreement". - AFP, REUTERS

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