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TikTok and ByteDance Sue US Government

The lawsuit comes on the back of a law signed by President Joe Biden on April 24, giving ByteDance a nine-month ultimatum to sell off TikTok or shut down operations in the US

TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, based in Beijing, have filed a federal lawsuit against the US government to overturn a law requiring ByteDance to sell its stake to a non-Chinese buyer or face a ban in the US.

This comes after President Joe Biden signed a new law on April 24, 2024, which gave ByteDance nine months to sell off TikTok or shut down operations in the US. The reason for the law was that Chinese authorities could easily obtain personal information about Americans through commercial data brokers. 

Earlier in February, TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, responded to questions about the company’s affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party.

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ByteDance and TikTok denied the accusations in the lawsuit they filed in the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, claiming there was proof the app posed any security risk.

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“Congress itself has offered nothing to suggest that the TikTok platform poses the types of risks to data security or the spread of foreign propaganda that could conceivably justify the act,” it said in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also claims that selling the application is not commercially, technologically, or legally feasible because it would force TikTok to transfer millions of lines of software code from ByteDance to a new owner, and that it would take years for new engineers to become familiar with the platform’s source code in order to maintain and develop it.

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According to the lawsuit, the law signed by President Biden last month, will force a shutdown of TikTok by Jan. 19, 2025, while silencing Americans who use the platform to share, watch, and create videos.

“Congress has taken the unprecedented step of expressly singling out and banning TikTok: a vibrant online forum for protected speech and expression used by 170 million Americans to create, share, and view videos over the Internet.” 

ByteDance stated that even if they were to sell TikTok, they would have to obtain permission from Beijing first.

TikTok previously won legal victories against efforts to ban the app on First Amendment grounds. An order by the Trump administration to force ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a ban in 2020, was found unconstitutional by federal courts on First Amendment grounds.

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