The government has withdrawn its threat to ban TikTok for the time being.
The Department of Commerce has decided not to enforce an order that would have shut down the popular short video app in the US in a legal dispute over the move.
The agency announced the decision on Thursday afternoon – just hours before the decision came into force – and said it would comply with a federal court injunction that put the ban on hold.
The move came when the Justice Department appealed the October 30 ruling in which a Pennsylvania judge sided with three TikTok users who argued the ban would prevent them from making a living.
The Commerce Department said its order would be put on hold “pending further legal developments,” suggesting the closure order could be reinstated if the government wins its appeal.
TikTok did not immediately respond Friday morning to a request for comment on the Department of Commerce announcement or the Pennsylvania case appeal.
The fortunes of TikTok in the US have changed steadily since President Trump officially decided to shut it down in mid-August over fears that its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, could share Americans’ user data with Beijing. TikTok has denied these allegations.
The Trump administration threatened to effectively ban the app unless ByteDance sold TikTok’s U.S. assets. Trump later blessed a deal in which ByteDance planned to create a new US company called TikTok Global, which would in part be owned by two US companies, Oracle and Walmart.
However, the fate of that deal was shaken by legal challenges to the proposed ban and Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in last week’s presidential election.
The uncertainty reportedly led ByteDance to petition a federal appeals court to block the divestment order on Tuesday, just two days before the Commerce Department granted TikTok a respite.