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To no one's surprise, TikTok is suing the US government

TikTok is taking the US government to court.

Published onMay 7, 2024

TikTok featured image
Joe Hindy / Android Authority
  • TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has filed a lawsuit against the federal US government.
  • The company argues the law requiring it to sell TikTok to a non-Chinese company or get banned is unconstitutional.
  • The lawsuit also alleges that the nine to 12-month window to sell is not possible.

Since President Joe Biden signed the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act in April, TikTok’s presence in the US has been on borrowed time. But that bill passing hasn’t stopped TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, from attempting to fight back. Now ByteDance has filed a lawsuit arguing that the looming ban for its app is unconstitutional.

As reported by ABC News, ByteDance has filed a 65-page petition to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The company claims that a nationwide ban would infringe on users’s First Amendment rights.

Within the submitted documents, the company states:

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 1 billion people worldwide.

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act requires ByteDance to divest its ownership stake in TikTok and sell to a non-Chinese company in nine to 12 months or face a ban in the US. This legislation was included as part of a massive $95 billion foreign aid package. The issue stems from concerns about ByteDance’s connection to China and the possibility of the app being used to serve propaganda and collect data from US users.

The firm has refuted these allegations in the lawsuit claiming, “Congress itself has offered nothing to suggest that the TikTok platform poses the types of risks to data security or the spread of foreign propaganda that could conceivably justify the act.” It also added that:

It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually.

Last but not least, the lawsuit argues that the time window for the ban is not possible “commercially, technologically or legally.”

Obviously, ByteDance will exhaust all of its options before even considering divestment. The question is, will it be willing to divest when there are no options left? In an earlier report, sources have said that the company is willing to oblige with the ban if it can’t win in court, but it won’t be selling it.

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