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TikTok asks judge to block U.S. from barring app for download

Credit: REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

TikTok asked a U.S. judge on Wednesday to block a Trump administration order that would require Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google to remove the short video-sharing app for new downloads starting on Sunday.

By David Shepardson and Jonathan Stempel

WASHINGTON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - TikTok asked a U.S. judge on Wednesday to block a Trump administration order that would require Apple Inc AAPL.O and Alphabet Inc's Google GOOGL.O to remove the short video-sharing app for new downloads starting on Sunday.

A federal judge in San Francisco on Saturday issued a preliminary injunction blocking a similar Commerce Department order from taking effect on Sunday on Tencent Holdings' 0700.HK WeChat app.

U.S. officials have expressed serious concerns that the personal data of as many as 100 million Americans that use the app was being passed on to China’s Communist Party government.

On Saturday, the Commerce Department announced a one-week delay in the TikTok order, citing "recent positive developments" in talks over the fate of its U.S. operations.

TikTok said the restrictions "were not motivated by a genuine national security concern, but rather by political considerations relating to the upcoming general election."

TikTok said if the order is not blocked "hundreds of millions of Americans who have not yet downloaded TikTok will be shut out of this large and diverse online community - six weeks before a national election."

TikTok's Chinese owner, ByteDance, said on Monday it will own 80% of TikTok Global, a newly created U.S. company that will own most of the app’s operations worldwide. ByteDance added that TikTok Global will become its subsidiary.

Oracle Corp ORCL.N and Walmart Inc WMT.N have agreed to take stakes in TikTok Global of 12.5% and 7.5%, respectively. On Monday, Oracle said ByteDance’s ownership of TikTok would be distributed to ByteDance’s investors, and that the Beijing-based firm would have no stake in TikTok Global.

On Saturday, ByteDance, Walmart and Oracle said they reached an agreement that would to allow TikTok to continue to operate in the United States after President Donald Trump said he had blessed the deal.

Trump signed an executive order on Aug. 14 giving ByteDance 90 days to relinquish ownership of TikTok.

(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington and Jonathan Stempel in New York Editing by Sandra Maler and Matthew Lewis)

((David.Shepardson@thomsonreuters.com; 2028988324;))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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