TikTok sues U.S. government

    The social media platform TikTok is challenging a potential ban on First Amendment grounds.

    The World News Herald
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    TikTok is suing the US government in an attempt to stop the enforcement of a bill passed by Congress last month that seeks to force the platform’s China-based owner ByteDance to sell the app or face a complete ban.

    In April, US President Joe Biden signed a bill into a law that gives ByteDance 270 days to divest from its US business. If it fails to comply, TikTok will be banned from app stores serving American customers.

    In the lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, TikTok argued that the bill violates constitutional protections of free speech.

    The petition describes the ‘Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act’ as an “unprecedented violation” of First Amendment rights.

    “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,” TikTok claimed in the lawsuit.

    The company also argued that invoking national security concerns is not a good enough reason to restrict free speech.

    A number of American lawmakers have insisted for years that TikTok poses a “national security threat” due to its Chinese ownership, and have sought to force it to sever ties with its parent company ByteDance. Efforts to rein in the popular video-sharing app have persisted since 2020 under both the Trump and Biden administrations. The federal government and dozens of states have already banned the use of TikTok on government-owned devices.

    Some US lawmakers, however, opposed the bill that could see TikTok banned, calling it a “cure” that is “worse than the disease” and raising concerns that it would give the White House the power to ban other websites and apps.

    TikTok has strongly denied that it has ever given Chinese government officials access to US user data, insisting it has taken steps to protect that information by hosting the data on servers owned by US tech giant Oracle.

    China has also blasted efforts to ban TikTok in the US, describing such a move as “contrary to the principles of fair competition and international economic and trade rules” and accusing Washington of “bullying behaviour” and “leveraging state power” against ByteDance.


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