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TikTok sues US government over law mandating sale or ban| GuyWhoKnowsThings


Less than two weeks after President Biden signed a bill that will force TikTok's Chinese owner ByteDance to sell the popular social media app or face a ban in the United States, TikTok said it sued the federal government on Tuesday, arguing the law was unconstitutional.

TikTok said the law violated the First Amendment by effectively taking down an app that millions of Americans use to share their views and communicate freely. He also argued that a divestment was “simply impossible,” especially within the law's 270-day deadline, pointing to difficulties such as Beijing's refusal to sell a key feature that powers TikTok in the United States.

“For the first time in history, Congress has enacted a law that subjects a single named speech platform to a permanent nationwide ban and prohibits all Americans from participating in a single online community with more than one billion people.” around the world,” the company said. he said in the 67-page petition he provided, starting the lawsuit. “There is no doubt: the law will force TikTok to shut down by January 19, 2025.”

TikTok is fighting for its survival in the United States, and the fight will play out primarily in the courts over the next few months. While the legislators who passed the bill have said the app is a national security threat because of its ties to China, courts must now weigh those concerns against TikTok's argument that a sale or ban would violate the free speech rights of its First Party users. It amends and would harm small businesses that owe their livelihood to the platform.

Several legal experts expect the case to go before the Supreme Court.

Under the new law, signed on April 24, TikTok has nine months, or a year if the president grants it an extension, to find a non-Chinese buyer. If not, the law requires US app stores and web hosting services to stop working with it, essentially a ban.

TikTok filed the lawsuit with the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit a day later its executive directorShou Chew, appeared with his wife at the Met Gala, where he was honorary president.

At the center of the case will be lawmakers' intention to defend the United States from what they and some security experts say is a threat to national security because the Chinese government could trust ByteDance to hand over sensitive user data. TikTok or use the app to spread. propaganda. Legal experts have said the mandate to sell or block the app could result in changes to TikTok's content policies and shape what users can freely share on the platform, potentially violating their free speech rights.

TikTok argued in its lawsuit that selling its U.S. operations was not “commercially, technologically, or legally feasible.” Part of that argument depends on how TikTok and its competitors are global in nature and content is accessible across country borders, with international videos as part of their appeal.

It's also impossible to move the app's underlying code to a new owner, TikTok argued, adding that it would take years for a new group of engineers to become familiar with that code to develop and maintain the platform. Engineers would also need access to ByteDance software to keep TikTok running, which the new law prohibits, the company argued.

TikTok's success also depends on its recommendation algorithm, which helps show personalized content to users, something the Chinese government has said it would not sell, the lawsuit notes.

TikTok pointed out the billions of dollars that has spent to address potential security risks over the past four years and a 90-page draft national security agreement that made “extraordinary” commitments to the US government. The company said it even agreed to give the government a “shutdown option” that would allow it to suspend TikTok in the United States if the company violated parts of its agreement.

National security concerns about TikTok are “speculative” and fall short of what is required to justify violating First Amendment rights, the company argued in its lawsuit, adding that President Biden's use of the platform and other members of Congress undermine claims that he is a threat.

TikTok asked the court to issue a declaratory judgment saying the law violates the Constitution and to issue an order preventing Attorney General Merrick B. Garland from enforcing it.

A Justice Department spokesperson declined to comment on potential litigation.

The government is likely to defend the law by saying it requires a sale, not a ban. The government will likely also need to make a strong case that its national security concerns justify limiting free speech if TikTok is banned.

The Department of Justice, which participated in drafting the law, intervened in the language that would help the Biden administration better defend him in court.

“They will have to back up their concerns with evidence in a way that they actually haven't, at least in the court of public opinion, and they will have to demonstrate that their concerns cannot be addressed. in narrower ways,” Ramya Krishnan, senior staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, said in an interview before the petition was filed.

The institute hopes to support a challenge to the law, he said. The American Civil Liberties Union has also said it opposes the law and could help with litigation.

Fears of a potential security threat from TikTok have increased over the past year and a half, prompting app bans in federal devices and those issued by some municipal and state governments. Still, the app has continued to grow in popularity, shaping culture and becoming a source of news for younger Americans, as well as a place where a growing group of content creators make a living.

TikTok's efforts to address national security concerns have also included separating its US users' data from the rest of the company's operations and providing third-party oversight of its content recommendations.

TikTok has been successful in challenging similar state and federal actions, although this law differs in its broad support from Congress and the Biden administration.

Last year, Montana passed a law that would have banned TikTok from operating in the state starting Jan. 1, saying the company posed a threat to the safety of its citizens. A group of TikTok users filed a lawsuit funded by the app, saying the law violated their First Amendment rights and overrode the state's legal authority. Tik Tok too presented a separate lawsuit within a week, arguing that the legislation violated the First Amendment.

In November, a federal judge blocked Montana bansaying it likely violated the First Amendment and a clause that gives Congress the power to regulate commerce with foreign nations.

Former President Donald J. Trump also attempted to ban or force the sale of TikTok in 2020 with an executive order citing similar security concerns. federal courts blocked the The Commerce Department will carry out its plan in part based on the First Amendment, and a judge added that it would shut down a “platform for expressive activities.” Another judge said the government would most likely exceeded his legal authority and “acted arbitrarily and capriciously by failing to consider obvious alternatives.”


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