TikTok Is Suing the U.S. Government

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TikTok Is Suing the U.S. Government

TikTok is fighting back, officially filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Government to challenge the ban of the app. In recent news, the U.S. government has passed a bill that would ban the app from the country if it is not sold to a non-Chinese buyer.

Parent company ByteDance argues that the ban violates users’ First Amendment rights. The New York Times reports the argument that “by effectively removing an app that millions of Americans use to share their views and communicate freely” it completely disregards the rights of American citizens and that divestiture of the app is “simply not possible.” With the law’s 270-day deadline, TikTok is arguing that there is immense difficulty due to Beijing’s refusal to sell key features of the app in the U.S. The company states in its 67-page petition, “For the first time in history, Congress has enacted a law that subjects a single, named speech platform to a permanent, nationwide ban, and bars every American from participating in a unique online community with more than one billion people worldwide. There is no question: The act will force a shutdown of TikTok by Jan. 19, 2025.”

On April 24, President Biden signed the new law which gives TikTok nine months to find a non-Chinese buyer. It the company is unable to do so, then lawmakers have the ability to ban the app from the U.S. The bill came into light due to lawmakers’ concern over the Chinese government’s assertion via ByteDance to receive data on American citizens. TikTok continues to argue that selling portions of their American operations is not feasible, “commercially, technologically, or legally.” They argue that since the app is global in nature and content, like its competitors, it should be accessible across country borders. TikTok also states that the underlying coding to a new owner would take years to develop and would require access to the ByteDance software in order to maintain its functions.

TikTok wants the court to issue a declaratory judgement that would state that the law violated the First Amendment. It is likely that the government will argue that the sale is different form a ban. It remains to be seen how this will unfold.

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