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US won't back off plan for TikTok download ban: court filing

·1-min read
A US ban on new downloads of the popular video app TikTok would take effect on September 27, 2020 unless a judge blocks the order by President Donald Trump
A US ban on new downloads of the popular video app TikTok would take effect on September 27, 2020 unless a judge blocks the order by President Donald Trump

The Trump administration said Friday it would not back down from a plan to ban new US downloads of the popular video-sharing app TikTok, setting up a court showdown ahead of a Sunday deadline.

A Justice Department court filing said it opposes TikTok's petition for an injunction to block the order from President Donald Trump, who has called the Chinese-owned social platform a national security risk.

The filing came a day after US District Judge Carl Nichols told lawyers he would consider on an expedited basis the TikTok request to block the president's order before it goes into effect at 11:59 pm Sunday (0359 GMT Monday).

The government lawyers said they wanted to file a brief "under seal," which would not be available as a public record, citing national security and confidential business information.

TikTok has argued that a ban, even if temporary, could cause irreparable harm to the video-sharing application, which has some 100 million US users.

Nichols told a hearing on Thursday he disagreed with government lawyers' claims that the ban -- which would not immediately prevent usage of TikTok but prevent downloads by new users and updates -- "merely preserves the status quo."

Earlier this month, Trump cited national security concerns and issued orders to ban both TikTok and the popular Chinese app WeChat -- which has been put on hold by a separate court.

But the TikTok order stops short of a full ban until November 12, giving the Chinese parent firm ByteDance time to conclude a deal to transfer ownership of the app.

A tentative deal unveiled last weekend would make Silicon Valley giant Oracle the technology partner for TikTok and a stakeholder in a new entity to be known as TikTok Global.

rl/sst