TikTok Files Lawsuit Against US Government Over Forced Sale Or Ban

TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance have taken legal action against the United States government in an effort to block a law that would compel the sale of the popular short video app or face a nationwide ban.

The companies filed their lawsuit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit arguing that the law violates the U.S. Constitution on several grounds including infringing upon First Amendment free speech protections.

The lawsuit asserts that the divestiture “is simply not possible: not commercially not technologically not legally.” ByteDance contends that the law enacted by Congress 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 1 billion people worldwide.

“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 in its suit. The companies argue that the U.S. government’s justification for the law which cites national security concerns is merely a guise for a ban as there is no feasible way for TikTok to be divested and sold within the given timeframe.

Some experts believe that TikTok has a strong chance of winning the lawsuit. Jameel Jaffer of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University said “The First Amendment means the government can’t restrict Americans’ access to ideas information or media from abroad without a very good reason for it — and no such reason exists here.”