Judge Temporarily Postpones TikTok Ban

TikTok users can treasure a while longer on their “For You” pages after a federal judge ruled to postpone the app’s ban on Sept. 27. 

District Judge Carl Nichols, who presides over the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., prevented the ban from being put into place later that night through his decision. The ban would have forced TikTok out of app stores in the United States, eliminating the possibility of new users. Those with the app already downloaded would still be able to access TikTok’s content; however, users would be unable to download new updates. Nichols’ ruling also bought the time necessary to arrange the change of ownership needed to keep TikTok accessible in the United States. 

The TikTok debate began in August when President Donald Trump issued an executive order regarding the video service. Using his economic powers for times of emergency, Trump justified his administration’s move against TikTok by classifying the app as a national security risk. 

Molly Cooper, a 20-year-old journalism sophomore, recently went viral on TikTok. In her video, Cooper and her roommate participate in the ghost photoshoot trend around sorority row. As of now, her video has around 37,500 views and 5,200 likes. 

Cooper, an avid TikTok user since August 2019, said she averages around eight hours per week on the app. 

“I like that there’s so many different videos that actually pertain to my interests,” she said, “because you can just like stuff and your whole ‘For You’ Page is just stuff that you enjoy watching.” 

According to NPR, the government hopes to stop TikTok from collecting data that could be accessed by the Chinese Communist Party. Unless TikTok becomes an American-based company by Nov. 12, the U.S. Commerce Department will fully ban the app. 

Cooper said she would have a lot of free time on her hands if TikTok were to be banned. 

“My mother would say she would be happy about it because then I’d actually study and stuff, but I’m actually really sad because that’s all I do,” she said. “When people ask me what I do for fun, I really don’t know what I do for fun besides watch TikToks.” 

TikTok is currently owned by ByteDance Ltd. In an effort to save the app in the U.S., the company may enter into a deal with Oracle Corp. and Walmart Inc., splitting the ownership among the three companies. 

Between Oracle and Walmart, the two companies will hold a 20% stake in the app, which will take on the new title of TikTok Global if the $60 billion deal succeeds. While this leaves ByteDance with around 80% ownership of the company, the Wall Street Journal states that the 40% of ByteDance that American investors already own combined with the stakes of the Oracle and Walmart would give the U.S. majority ownership. 

This arrangement would allow Oracle, a technology corporation, to ensure the data collected is secure. In concept, Trump approved of this possible deal. 

Despite this plan’s potential, China’s Global Times publication said in an article that they should aim to prevent TikTok from “falling into US hands at all cost.” 

Kira Davis, a 19-year-old communication sciences and disorders sophomore, said she believes there are apps with more access to users’ personal data than TikTok. TikTok serves as a way for Gen Z’s to interact and to raise awareness about issues, Davis said. 

“I also have on my ‘For You’ page educational things raising awareness of national issues, such as the wildfires that are happening on the other side of the United States,” Davis said. “It’s a good way to get information that makes you want to look more into it.”