Judge sets TikTok hearing for Sunday amid looming ban

Sept. 26 (UPI) — A federal judge has set a hearing for Sunday morning to decide on the fate of the video-sharing app TikTok ahead of Trump’s ban slated to take effect by midnight of the same day.

U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols scheduled the hearing to decide whether or not the United States has the authority to ban the app after the video-sharing app’s owner ByteDance asked the court to block the ban, arguing in court filings that the ban would impede constitutional free-speech protections.

President Donald Trump’s administration initially scheduled the ban against TikTok to take effect last Sunday, but it was delayed to this upcoming Sunday.

The ban slated to take effect by midnight Sunday would remove TikTok from app stores Apple, Google, and Android run and remove access to updates to help make the app move smoothly for millions of Americans who already have the app.

The Commerce Department is planning a full ban by Nov. 12.

Trump announced last month an upcoming ban against TikTok and a separate messaging app WeChat developed by the Chinese company Tencent Holdings, citing national security concerns. He issued executive orders for both amid push to limit the Chinese Communist Party’s access to U.S. data.

On Aug. 24, ByteDance, filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over efforts to ban the app.

The U.S. government last week tentatively approved a deal for Oracle and Walmart to acquire a 20% stake in the new company, Global ByteDance. Amid the pressure, ByteDance also requested permission from Beijing to export its technology, as executives work to push through the deal with Oracle and Walmart.

The U.S. Justice Department has filed a 49-page response to TikTok’s lawsuit ahead of Sunday’s hearing.

In the response, the Trump administration accused ByteDance CEO Zhang Yiming of being a “mouthpiece” for the Chinese Communist Party.

Last week the Chinese government threatened U.S. companies with sanctions in retaliation for bans on WeChat and TikTok.

Though the Chinese government hasn’t named entities on the list, state media has reported that Apple and Google could be sanctioned amid the souring of U.S.-China relations.

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