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New defeat for Trump in his battle against TikTok

A federal judge blocked President Donald Trump’s attempts to ban the use of TikTok, a further judicial defeat for the government as it tries to wrest the popular video app from its Chinese owners.

The Trump administration has tried to ban the application of videos from app stores in the United States and withdraw vital technical services from it. TikTok filed a lawsuit against it, arguing that such actions would violate freedom of expression and due process rights.

Federal District Court Judge in Washington, DC, Carl Nichols, said in a ruling Monday that the Commerce Department “likely exceeded” the use of emergency presidential powers “and acted arbitrarily and capriciously by failing to consider obvious alternatives ”.

Nichols is the second federal judge to completely block the Trump administration’s financial sanctions against the app, as court cases progress.

The Trump administration alleges that TikTok is a threat to national security because the Chinese government could be using the personal data of the app users. TikTok has denied it is a security threat, but said it is trying to work with the US government to resolve its concerns.

In September, Trump gave his tentative approval to a proposal by ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, which sought to resolve national security concerns expressed by the United States. By having US companies Oracle and Walmart invest in TikTok, Oracle would manage US user data under the agreement. However, a federal agency has yet to review and finalize a settlement.

Friday was the government’s deadline for ByteDance to complete the deal and it is unclear what the status of the deal is.

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