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TikTok, ByteDance sue to block US law seeking sale or ban of app

 Published: 11:28, 8 May 2024

TikTok, ByteDance sue to block US law seeking sale or ban of app

TikTok and its parent company ByteDance sued in US federal court on Tuesday seeking to block a law signed by President Joe Biden that would force the divestiture of the short video app used by 170m Americans or ban it.

The lawsuit, filed in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, contends that the law infringes upon several provisions of the US Constitution, particularly the First Amendment's protection of free speech. Signed by President Biden on April 24th, the law stipulates that ByteDance must sell TikTok by January 19th or risk being banned from operating in the country.
In their legal filing, TikTok and ByteDance assert that this legislation represents an unprecedented action by Congress, targeting a specific platform for a nationwide ban. They argue that the mandated divestiture is impractical on multiple fronts – commercially, technologically, and legally. The lawsuit paints a stark picture, predicting that if the law is enforced, TikTok will be silenced by January 19, 2025, depriving its 170 million American users of a unique mode of communication.
While the White House has expressed concerns about national security risks associated with Chinese ownership of TikTok, it has not advocated for an outright ban. Both the White House and the Justice Department have refrained from commenting on the lawsuit.
The legislative push for TikTok's divestiture gained momentum amid fears among US lawmakers that the Chinese government could potentially access or spy on American users' data through the app. Despite TikTok's assertions to the contrary, denying any sharing of US user data, lawmakers moved swiftly to pass the legislation, viewing it as a proactive measure to safeguard national security interests.

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