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Why is TikTok suing the US Government?

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TikTok and ByteDance launched legal action, deciding it's suing the US Government. Roughly half the country’s population uses TikTok.
TikTok suing US Government

TikTok and its parent company ByteDance are suing the US Government over a law that could see the platform banned in the country.

It comes after the U.S. Senate passed a bill last month to force the Chinese-owned ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a nationwide shutdown.

The platform is seeking to block the law in a federal appeals court, claiming it goes against the First Amendment — which protects freedom of expression in the U.S.

Background

About 170 million Americans use TikTok — roughly half the country’s population.

The U.S. Government has consistently aired security concerns about data being shared between ByteDance and the Chinese Government.

However, TikTok said it’s never shared U.S. user data with the Chinese Government, or been asked to share data with it.

TikTok ban

U.S. lawmakers passed legislation to ban apps operated “directly or indirectly” by TikTok or ByteDance.

ByteDance has been given until 19 January 2025 to sell TikTok to a company outside of China or be shut down in the U.S.

Further, TikTok has called the legislation “unconstitutional”, and is now challenging the ban in court.

TikTok decides to sue the US Government

This week, TikTok and ByteDance launched legal action, deciding it’s suing the US Government.

They argue that the forced sale of TikTok goes against the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment — which protects the right to freedom of speech and religion.

The Amendment states that the “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech”

TikTok has accused lawmakers of banning Americans “from participating in a unique online community”.

“The Government cannot, consistent with the First Amendment, dictate the ownership of newspapers, websites, online platforms, and other privately created speech forums.”

TikTok said the U.S. Government has violated the First Amendment by enacting a ban on the Chinese-owned app, according to court documents.

It also described the U.S.’ security concerns against its Chinese ownership as “speculative” — meaning there is no evidence to suggest ByteDance has breached national security laws in the U.S.

TikTok says selling the platform in the U.S. “is simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally” and isn’t feasible by January next year.

What’s next?

TikTok filed its petition against the government to the U.S. Federal Court.

However, the case is expected to be escalated to the higher Supreme Court in the coming months.

If TikTok loses this case, laws forcing it to sell or shut down in the U.S. will stand.

U.S. officials had not responded to the lawsuit at the time of publishing.

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