Is TikTok Banned?

Today might be the last time new US clients can download TikTok following the extension of an executive order issued by President Donald Trump last month which, originally, had established Sunday, September 20th as the day that TikTok would no longer be available for download in US app stores. 

The US Department of Commerce issued the extension after talks of negotiations to create a US-based version of the app surfaced in an attempt to circumvent the ban and regain the White House's trust in the parent company’s app, ByteDance. 

President Trump's original executive order justified the ban by expressing fears of the Chinese government alleged privacy violations and unethical practices of handling users' data with the app. 

Later on, Trump gave his approval of a potential deal between three companies, in which Oracle would manage the app’s user data and accompany Walmart in a combined 20% stake for Tik Tok Global, a US-based entity of ByteDance’s app. The terms of this business venture are still uncertain, as both Oracle and ByteDance have given contradicting statements concerning the nature of the deal

Regardless of the deal's nature, the Chinese government has the last say on whether or not TikTok will participate in this joint venture to retain its US clients, as Chinese commerce laws regulate the sale of specific technology to foreign companies. 

In response to the Commerce Department's official statement that declared the TikTok ban from app stores last week—which was later retired and replaced with an extension to permit time for TikTok's negotiations with US corporations—ByteDance took legal action and sued The White House in an attempt to block the ban. 

On Thursday, Judge Carl Nicholes of the US District Court of DC ordered the Trump administration to either postpone its ban on TikTok or respond by Friday afternoon to a request from ByteDance to temporarily block the ban.

Following the government’s lack of response, the Trump Administration is scheduled for a hearing today in which Judge Nicholes will rule on TikTok’s potential injunction on the ban.

It's suspected that if negotiations between Walmart, Oracle and TikTok are fruitless, the ban will begin at midnight, starting tomorrow, and trigger a decrease in revenue for the app, unless the injunction is otherwise granted. 

Although people who already use the app will be able to continue to use it, the lack of new users could potentially lead to an insurmountable roadblock in engagement and content creation. Users would also potentially face bugs as security patches and updates would become nearly inaccessible. 

TikTok faces a final hurdle, though. Trump emitted an executive order that sealed November 12th as the day wherein TikTok would cease to function in the US, meaning that the company would have to ensure this ban is lifted after sealing the deal with its potential business partners. 

The outcome of this TikTok debacle remains to be seen.