US Offers Reprieve In TikTok Legal Battle

US Commerce Department delays enforcement of TikTok US ban ‘pending further legal developments’ as China’s ByteDance launches appeal

The US government has said it plans to delay enforcement of its ban on TikTok, as the Chinese-owned app continues its battle with the Trump administration.

The US Commerce Department said it was delaying the ban “pending further legal developments”.

The move follows an appeal by TikTok owner ByteDance, which was filed in a US appeals court early last week, with the ban due to take effect on Thursday.

The Commerce Department has said it is itself appealing a judge’s October order blocking the restrictions.

The White House. Image credit: US government tiktok
Image credit: US government

TikTok ban

In August, US president Donald Trump signed an executive order that would ban TikTok if the company did not divest its US operations within 45 days.

The move forced ByteDance to consider offers from several companies, before settling on an arrangement that would shift its US operations into a new company called TikTok Global, in which US firms Oracle and Walmart would have a stake.

Trump initially said he approved of the deal in principle, but in filing its appeal ByteDance said it had not received feedback from the US government in two months.

The company said it had asked the government for a 30-day extension due to “continual new requests and no clarity on whether our proposed solutions would be accepted”, but it had not been granted.

Trade war

No deal has yet been finalised.

TikTok did not immediately offer comment on the latest shift, but on 30 October said it was “deeply moved by the outpouring of support from our creators” during the legal battle.

The US government argues the social media app, which has 100 million US users, gives the Chinese Communist Party access to sensitive US user data, which ByteDance denies. The US has not offered information in support of its allegations.

The restrictions are part of a broader trade war between the US and China that has also seen the US government launch attacks on popular Chinese communications app WeChat, as well as Chinese telecommunications equipment maker Huawei, which is also the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker after Samsung.