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TikTok Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Government Over Law Demanding Its Sale or Ban

TikTok Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Government Over Law Demanding Its Sale or Ban

May 7, 2024

TikTok Files Lawsuit Against U.S. Government Over Law Demanding Its Sale or Ban

TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance have initiated a legal battle against a recent U.S. law that compels the company to sell the popular social media platform or face a ban in the United States. This move comes after President Joe Biden signed the legislation on April 24, which sets a deadline of January 19 for ByteDance to divest TikTok or see it removed from app stores and barred from internet hosting services in the U.S.

According to Reuters, TikTok has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, alleging the law breaches the U.S. Constitution, including First Amendment rights to free speech. TikTok contends that the divestiture ordered by the law is "not commercially, not technologically, not legally" achievable, and that compliance would lead to the app's shutdown, silencing the 170 million American users. The company has shared a copy of its lawsuit with Reuters, underlining the impracticality of the mandated sale and pointing to the "extensive measures," including a $2 billion investment, they have taken to secure U.S. user data.

The New York Times adds that TikTok's 67-page petition initiating the lawsuit claims the law is unconstitutional and would violate the First Amendment by eliminating an app used by millions to express themselves and communicate. TikTok's legal strategy also points to the global nature of its operations and the technical challenges of transferring its underlying code to a potential new owner. The lawsuit emphasizes the significance of TikTok's recommendation algorithm, which the Chinese government has stated it would not permit to be sold.

The suit also references a draft 90-page National Security Agreement with extraordinary commitments to the U.S. government, including a "shutdown option" to suspend TikTok in the U.S. if it violated certain obligations. TikTok is requesting a declaratory judgment from the court asserting the law's unconstitutionality and an order to prevent Attorney General Merrick B. Garland from enforcing it. The Department of Justice has declined to comment on the potential litigation.

New York Times Article

Reuters Article


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