TikTok sues US government over law banning the app, claiming it's unconstitutional

TikTok has taken legal action against the United States government over a new law that mandates Chinese parent company ByteDance to sell the app or face a nationwide ban. Filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, TikTok and ByteDance argue that the law, signed by President Biden, violates Americans’ First Amendment rights to free speech.

The law, called the Protecting Americans’ Data From Foreign Adversaries Act of 2024, passed with bipartisan support amid concerns that TikTok poses a national security threat. It requires ByteDance to divest its stake in TikTok within nine months to a non-“foreign adversary” party, or else TikTok distribution would be outlawed.

TikTok’s lawsuit contends that the law is unconstitutional, asserting that the mandated divestiture is impractical and effectively results in a ban. They argue that singling out TikTok for adverse treatment without justification violates their equal protection rights under the Fifth Amendment.

This legal move by TikTok follows previous successes in fighting attempts to ban the app on First Amendment grounds. The lawsuit seeks a declaration that the law breaches the U.S. Constitution and requests an injunction against its enforcement.

Various organizations, including the ACLU and the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, have expressed support for TikTok’s challenge, emphasizing the importance of preserving access to international media and ideas without government interference.

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