United States

TikTok Sues US Government Over 'Unconstitutional' Law To Ban Social Media Platform

TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have taken legal action against the US government, challenging a law mandating the sale of ByteDance's stake in TikTok or facing a ban, sparking a potential lengthy legal battle with significant implications for the popular social media platform's future in the United States.

AP
TikTok Sues US Photo: AP
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TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance are suing the US federal government to contest a law mandating the sale of ByteDance's stake in the company or facing a ban. The lawsuit, filed on Tuesday, signals the beginning of a potential lengthy legal battle concerning TikTok's future in the United States.

The popular social video platform alleges that the law, signed by President Joe Biden as part of a larger $95 billion foreign aid package, is "obviously unconstitutional." It argues that the sponsors of The Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act are attempting to frame the law not as a ban, but as a regulation of TikTok's ownership.

This legislation mandates ByteDance to divest TikTok within nine months, with an additional three-month extension if a sale is already underway. ByteDance has stated it currently has no plans to sell TikTok. However, even if it wished to divest, the company would require approval from Beijing, which has previously opposed a forced sale and reiterated its opposition this time.

The clash over TikTok occurs amid heightened US-China tensions, particularly in areas like advanced technologies and data security, which are crucial to each country's economic strength and national security. Concerns voiced by US lawmakers, administration officials, and law enforcement revolve around the potential for Chinese authorities to access US user data or manipulate TikTok's algorithm to influence public opinion. While some studies have suggested TikTok content may be influenced by the interests of the Chinese government, TikTok disputes these claims.

Opponents of the law argue that other entities, including commercial data brokers, could easily obtain information on Americans, and there's no public evidence to support the notion that TikTok shares US user data with Chinese authorities or manipulates its algorithm for China's benefit. Moreover, they assert that banning the app could infringe upon free speech rights in the US.

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