ByteDance Opening Brief Claims U.S. Ban is Unconstitutional

China’s ByteDance has come out swinging in petition for review against the United States government over the law that would force it to sell TikTok by January 19 or see the app banned in U.S. app stores. The petition challenges the constitutionality of the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act that President Biden signed into law on April 24, calling it in the brief “a radical departure from this country’s tradition of championing an open Internet, and sets a dangerous precedent allowing the political branches to target a disfavored speech platform.” Oral argument is scheduled for September 14.

The brief was filed Thursday by TikTok Inc. and ByteDance in the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit. In an unusual display on a commercial website, TikTok’s newsroom page provides a link to the 99-page opening brief and an approximately 900-page appendix that includes evidentiary materials.

The legal skirmish surrounding the prospective TikTok ban has spilled into the general social discourse, as the ByteDance position gained support from a creator lawsuit alleging the law violates the First Amendment.

According to The Verge, “TikTok says that the government didn’t adequately consider viable alternative options before charging ahead with a law that could ban the platform in the US.”

TikTok, the brief argues, “provided the U.S. government with an extensive and detailed plan to mitigate national security risks and that this plan was largely ignored when Congress passed a law with a huge impact on speech,” per The Verge.

The appendix includes a 90-page proposal from TikTok detailing how it planned to address U.S. national security concerns about the social media app, including steps with regard to allegations the Chinese government is able to use it to spread propaganda or cull sensitive user data.

The ByteDance brief takes the position that the government inappropriately escalated to demands for a sale or ban after prematurely cutting off settlement talks in 2022.

“To support its argument, the company released a trove of documents about numerous confidential meetings and other interactions with top federal officials, nearly all of which have been shrouded in secrecy,” writes The New York Times.

ByteDance, Reuters writes, “says a divestiture is ‘not possible technologically, commercially, or legally’” and predicts a “U.S. ban is inevitable without a court order blocking the law.”

No Comments Yet

You can be the first to comment!

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.