TikTok will be around until at least after the presidential election. Here's what that means for the app's future.

Paige Leskin
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Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Business Insider
  • A US federal judge has scheduled a hearing for November 4 to next decide on whether to temporarily block the US government's attempt to ban TikTok nationwide.

  • The hearing date means TikTok's fate is secured until at least after the presidential election on November 3.

  • Although the delay doesn't decide TikTok's future, it means that TikTok and ByteDance now have more than a month to weed through political tensions and deal negotiations to figure out what their next move should be in its fight against the US government.

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The Trump administration's attempts to issue an unprecedented nationwide ban on TikTok will be delayed until at least after Election Day 2020.

A federal judge has scheduled a hearing for November 4, the day after the presidential election, to make a decision on whether the US government's ban of the viral video-sharing app can be implemented later in the month. The government's attempt at instating its first part of the ban is already being stymied by a temporary injunction granted last month, which the Trump administration appealed on Thursday.

But the impending calendar date is still a month away, meaning there's ample time for TikTok and its Beijing-based owner ByteDance to make further moves to ensure the app's future in the US. The delay gives TikTok even further leeway as it grapples to survive in a months-long battle characterized by political jockeying and back-and-forth negotiations.

But come November 4, a federal judge will be tasked with deciding whether to block the US government's planned ban, which would take place on November 12 without obstruction. The next phase of the two-part TikTok ban intends to be a complete ban, targeting internet hosting services and content delivery networks.

Holding the hearing after November 3 is significant because the election's outcome could change how ByteDance or the Trump administration approach their arguments. But the winner of the 2020 presidential election won't be sworn in until Jan. 20, and a winner may not be known until several days after the election, meaning the judge presiding over the TikTok case will still have to make a decision on the Nov. 12 injunction.

The future looks bright for TikTok, however. TikTok already saw the court rule in its favor when it temporarily blocked the Trump administration's first executive order to stop new downloads and software updates of the app on September 27. In the decision to grant the injunction, US Judge Carl Nichols called into question the government's authority to issue such a ban, writing that the TikTok ban "likely exceeds" the administration's "lawful bounds."

It remains unclear what will happen to the US government's planned TikTok ban if a deal to settle the company's ownership in the US — in the works for months, as it hits snags and pushback — is finalized. The current proposal would break off TikTok's global business into a new US-based company, in which Oracle, Walmart and US investors would have substantial stakes. However, there's still disagreement over whether the deal would give majority ownership to US investors, or whether TikTok's China-based parent company ByteDance would maintain its majority ownership.

The calls from Donald Trump and government officials to push for a ban of TikTok over its ties with China have been mounting for months. Nonetheless, the company has managed to remain in the US virtually unscathed and more popular than ever among users, despite facing a deluge of the US government's executive orders, national-security concerns, and forced sale attempts.

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