The move comes after a federal court in Pennsylvania blocked the Trump administration from carrying out the ban, which had been ordered on claims TikTok posed a national security threat.

This file photo illustration taken on September 14, 2020, shows the logo of the social network application TikTok (L) and a US flag (R) on the screens of two laptops in Beijing.
This file photo illustration taken on September 14, 2020, shows the logo of the social network application TikTok (L) and a US flag (R) on the screens of two laptops in Beijing. (AFP)

The US government has decided against enforcing its ban on Chinese-owned social media sensation TikTok to comply with a federal court ruling issued in the national security case.

The Wall Street Journal reported the US Commerce Department had decided to hold off on enforcing a Trump administration order to ban the video-sharing app owned by Chinese-based ByteDance.

The move comes after a federal court in Pennsylvania blocked the Trump administration from carrying out the ban, which had been ordered by the White House based on claims the app posed a security threat due to the company's links to Beijing.

According to the report, the Commerce Department said the shutdown order won’t go into effect "pending further legal developments."

Other court cases are also pending on the matter.

READ MORE: US and TikTok at stalemate over how to restructure tech firm ownership

'Hypothetical' threat

The US Justice Department appealed a Pennsylvania judge's October 30 order that blocked the government from imposing restrictions on TikTok.

The Commerce Department's August restrictions order was to take effect late in the day, barring transactions with ByteDance's short video sharing app TikTok that its owner had warned would have effectively barred its use in the US.

The Commerce Department said in November 1 it would comply with Judge Wendy Beetlestone's order, but would "vigorously defend" its actions.

TikTok did not immediately comment on the government's appeal to the US Third Circuit.

Beetlestone enjoined the agency from barring data hosting within the US for TikTok, content delivery services and other technical transactions.

Beetlestone wrote the "government’s own descriptions of the national security threat posed by the TikTok app are phrased in the hypothetical."

READ MORE: Instagram moves to fill void if TikTok gets banned in US

Trump's deadline  

On September 27, US District Judge Carl Nichols in Washington issued a preliminary injunction in a suit brought by ByteDance that stopped Commerce from ordering Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google app stores to remove TikTok for download by new users. That order had been set to take effect later that day.

ByteDance had been given the deadline to restructure ownership of the app in the US to meet national security concerns, but it filed a petition in a Washington court this week asking for a delay.

The company said in a Tuesday statement that it had asked the government for a 30-day extension because of "continual new requests and no clarity on whether our proposed solutions would be accepted," but it was not granted.

Trump's administration contends that TikTok poses national security concerns as personal data collected on 100 million Americans who use the app could be obtained by China's government. TikTok denies the allegations.

ByteDance has been in talks for a deal with Walmart Inc and Oracle Corp to shift TikTok's US assets into a new entity called TikTok Global. Trump said in September the deal had his "blessing."

The deal has been under a national-security review by the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) led by the Treasury Department.

"With the November 12 CFIUS deadline imminent and without an extension in hand, we have no choice but to file a petition in court to defend our rights and those of our more than 1,500 employees in the US,” TikTok said in a written statement Tuesday.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies