TikTok averted a ban in the United States last week when a federal judge ruled that Washington couldn’t block it from app stores just yet.
The short-form video app is still accessible, but its fate in the country is far from certain.
The court ruling is only temporary, and could be appealed by the US government. The ruling could also eventually be thrown out: The judge only weighed in because TikTok challenged the ban, and the company could lose its court case.
To make things more confusing, TikTok’s court case isn’t the only thing governing the future of the app.
TikTok’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, is racing to close a deal with the American firms Oracle and Walmart that might be enough to satisfy the Trump administration’s concerns about the app and stave off US pressure once and for all.
What started all of this?
US President Donald Trump and his administration have been attacking TikTok for months because of its ties to China. They claim the app is a risk to national security because the user data it stores on Americans could wind up in the hands of the Chinese government.
Those attacks came to a head in August, when Trump issued executive orders that would effectively ban TikTok in the United States. He later said that the ban could be avoided if a “very American company” buys it.
TikTok, meanwhile, has pushed back against the claim that it poses a security risk, saying that the user data it keeps on Americans is stored stateside, with a backup in Singapore. Its opposition to the ban spurred TikTok to sue the Trump administration in federal court.