TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, have taken legal action against the U.S. government following Congress and President Biden’s enactment of a recent law. This law mandates TikTok to sell its operations within nine months or face expulsion from U.S. app stores. TikTok argues that this legislation infringes upon its constitutional rights, particularly the First Amendment. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., was anticipated, given ByteDance’s firm stance against selling TikTok. The company maintains that the data of its American users is safeguarded.

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“There is no question: the Act will force a shutdown of TikTok by January 19, 2025,” the lawsuit states, “silencing the 170 million Americans who use the platform to communicate in ways that cannot be replicated elsewhere,” the lawsuit says. “For the first time in history, 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 one billion people worldwide.”

The suite continued, “qualified divestiture’ demanded by the Act to allow TikTok to continue operating in the United States is simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally. And certainly not on the 270-day timeline required by the Act. Petitioners have repeatedly explained this to the U.S. government, and sponsors of the Act were aware that divestment is not possible.” 


“There are good reasons why Congress has never before enacted a law like this. Consistent with the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of expression, the United States has long championed a free and open Internet — and the Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized that speech “conveyed over the Internet” fully qualifies for “the First Amendment’s protections.” What it comes down to is the Act’s national security argument is iffy and questionable at best. “If Congress can do this, it can circumvent the First Amendment by invoking national security and ordering the publisher of any individual newspaper or website to sell to avoid being shut down. And for TikTok, any such divestiture would disconnect Americans from the rest of the global community on a platform devoted to shared content — an outcome fundamentally at odds with the Constitution’s commitment to both free speech and individual liberty.”