ByteDance Files Suit Against the U.S. Over TikTok Sale or Ban

Short-form video hosting service TikTok and its China-based parent company ByteDance have filed suit against the United States challenging the constitutionality of the law that seeks to force a sale of the popular social media company, or otherwise ban it from use in the United States. The petition seeks to upend the bill President Biden signed into law April 24 as part of a foreign aid package. TikTok faces a ban from U.S. app stores if ByteDance has not been sold to a non-adversarial entity by mid-January 2025. ByteDance has made clear it has no intention of divesting.

The lawsuit, filed May 7 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, sets up “what likely will be a prolonged court battle pitting free-speech rights against national-security interests that could end up at the Supreme Court,” reports Bloomberg.

“ByteDance wants the law declared unconstitutional, saying it violates the First Amendment and represents an illegal punishment without due process or a presidential finding that the app is a national security threat.”

China is deemed a foreign adversary under U.S. Code Title 10. Congress objects to the Chinese government’s access to American user data via the video sharing app, with officials saying it “could be used by the Chinese government to carry out mass influence operations in America.”

The new law requires it be sold to a “friendly” owner, aligned with democratic principles, but stipulates that TikTok can continue operating in the U.S. until the January 15 sale deadline.

That means for now, TikTok “doesn’t need to seek an emergency injunction, but as the deadline draws near, the company will likely have to ask for a court order postponing the ban,” Bloomberg writes, adding that defending against the suit may force the Biden administration “to publicly reveal classified or sensitive information” to support its position.

The ByteDance petition “claims the U.S. government ‘has taken the unprecedented step of expressly singling out and banning’ the short-form video app in an unconstitutional exercise of congressional power,” writes CNN, noting that “the White House referred questions about TikTok’s legal challenge to the Justice Department, which didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.”

Bytedance contends that the new law “infringes on the First Amendment rights of TikTok’s 170 million American users,” asking the court “to declare the law unconstitutional, issue an order blocking Attorney General Merrick Garland from enforcing it, and grant ‘any further relief that may be appropriate,’” per Politico.

No Comments Yet

You can be the first to comment!

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.