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TikTok sues the US government over new law banning the app if it isn’t sold to a US company



Social media app, TikTok on Tuesday, May 7, sued to block a new US law that could force a nationwide ban of the popular app.

Tiktok’s move comes after legal threats the company issued after US President Joe Biden signed the legislation last month.

The lawsuit sets up a historic legal battle, one that will determine whether US security concerns about TikTok’s links to China will be more important  than the First Amendment rights of TikTok’s 170 million US users.

If TikTok loses the case, the company could be banned from US app stores unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, sells the app to a non-Chinese entity by mid-January 2025.

In its petition filed at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, TikTok and Bytedance allege the new law is unconstitutional because it stifles Americans’ speech and prevents them from accessing lawful information.

The petition claims the US government “has taken the unprecedented step of expressly singling out and banning” the short-form video app in an unconstitutional exercise of congressional power.

“For the first time in history,” the petition said, “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 lawsuit comes after years of US allegations that TikTok’s ties to China could expose Americans’ personal information to the Chinese government.

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

TikTok and ByteDance called the national security fears at the heart of the TikTok legislation “speculative and analytically flawed,” adding in the petition that the bill’s swift passage reflects how its congressional authors relied on “speculation, not ‘evidence,’ as the First Amendment requires,” to make their case.

The US government has not publicly presented any concrete evidence showing Chinese government access of TikTok data to date but US lawmakers have received classified briefings by national security officials behind closed doors.

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