A federal judge has halted the Trump Administration's ban on video-sharing app TikTok.
Per multiple media reports, Judge Carl Nichols of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. blocked the ban, which was set to go into effect at midnight Sunday.
The news comes on the heels of a Sunday morning hearing where Judge Nichols listened to TikTok's lawyers, via dial-in, argue that a ban on TikTok downloads would be “devastating” and an attack on free speech.
President Donald Trump has called the app a "national security" risk since it is owned by a Beijing-based parent company. ByteDance Ltd., which launched TikTok in 2018 after acquiring Shanghai-based video app Musical.ly for $1 billion, could gather data on Americans on behalf of Chinese authorities, he says.
TikTok was told to find a U.S. buyer, otherwise the ban would go into effect.
Enter Oracle Corp. ORCL and Walmart Inc. WMT. The two companies agreed to buy TikTok last week, and turn it into a new company — TikTok Global.
At first, Trump gave that agreement "his blessing."
However, under those terms, ByteDance would still be the majority shareholder with an 80% stake, making TikTok a subsidiary still under the ownership of a Chinese entity. Oracle would own a 12.5% stake and Walmart would own just 7.5%.
The TikTok Global board would consist of four American citizens and ByteDance founder Zhang Yiming.
Oracle maintained that ByteDance would have “no ownership” of TikTok Global, muddying matters on the buy side of the transaction.
It's also worth noting that ByteDance is backed by American investment firms, including Sequoia Capital and General Atlantic, making the scrutiny TikTok faced all the more confusing.
The TikTok service, popular among Gen Z, had first peeved the Trump administration back in June when the President was looking forward to a political rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Trump campaign had touted more than 1 million possible attendees, only to discover a crowd of about 6,000. That's because TikTok users had orchestrated a prank via phony registrations.
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