The judge will rule on Sunday whether to allow the Trump administration to ban downloads of the popular video-sharing app TikTok, and the company is seeking an injunction to prevent what it calls a destructive crackdown.
U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols promised to quickly consider TikTok’s order to block the president before it goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Sunday (0359 GMT Monday, Monday).
A judge in the US capital is reviewing the Trump administration’s allegations that TikTok owned by China constitutes a national security threat, as well as the company’s denials and claims that even a temporary injunction may cause irreparable harm.
The U.S. Department of Justice and TikTok attorneys agreed to submit a briefing for the public to view, so as not to disclose national security and confidential business information.
TikTok, a subsidiary of China’s ByteDance, stated in its initial petition that even a temporary ban would cause “damaging and irreparable harm” to the service.
TikTok pointed out: “Before the government’s intervention, TikTok was one of the fastest growing apps in the United States, and its continued rapid growth is critical to maintaining its competitive market position.”
TikTok is estimated to have 100 million users in the United States and 700 million users worldwide, making it one of the largest users in the social media field.
Company lawyers argued that a ban would not only lead to loss of income, but also “damage (TikTok)’s reputation and goodwill, even if the ban is lifted, these relationships will not be saved.”
Vanessa Pappas, the interim head of TikTok, said that the ban “will cause our user base to stagnate and then drop sharply.”
She pointed out that until July 1, when rumors about the ban began to circulate, TikTok added about 424,000 new users in the United States every day.
The TikTok petition also speculates that Trump is retaliating because of reports that his critics used the app to snap up tickets to a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma that they didn’t intend to attend. The incident made the president feel frustrated and embarrassed, and the attendance was far less than expected.
Judge Nichols said at a telephone hearing on Thursday that he disagrees with government lawyers that the ban “will not immediately prevent the use of TikTok, but will prevent new users from downloading it” and “just maintain the status quo.”
The analyst also pointed out that any ban may prevent users from downloading TikTok updates and security patches.
Earlier this month, Trump mentioned national security issues and ordered a ban on TikTok and the popular Chinese app WeChat.
But TikTok orders were not completely banned until November 12, which gave parent company ByteDance time to conclude a deal to transfer ownership of the app.
An initial transaction announced last weekend will make Silicon Valley giant Oracle a technology partner of TikTok and a shareholder in a new entity called TikTok Global.
The status of the transaction, which includes investment from US retail giant Wal-Mart, is currently unclear, as all parties are waiting for news about whether it will be approved in Beijing.