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  /  World News   /  TikTok sues to block potential US ban

TikTok sues to block potential US ban

(The Hill) — TikTok sued to block the law that would force the application to be divested from its Chinese-based parent company, ByteDance, or be banned from the U.S.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday against the U.S. government, TikTok and ByteDance argued that the law, the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversaries Act, violates the First Amendment.

The law gives ByteDance 270 days to sell TikTok to a new company that will be allowed to operate it in the U.S., or the app will be banned from American networks and online application stores. The president can give ByteDance an additional 90 days to sell TikTok if he determines it necessary.

But TikTok argued that “qualified divestiture” is “simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally,” and it, therefore, would lead to a shutdown of the app in the U.S., cutting off millions of daily users.

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TikTok also called out the law for singling out the app by name. While the law grants the president authority to name other applications that could fall under the same regulations, but TikTok and ByteDance are the only ones specified in the measure.

Even if the sale was “feasible,” TikTok argued, the law still would be “an extraordinary and unconstitutional assertion of power” and set a precedent that allows Congress to “circumvent the First Amendment by invoking national security and ordering the publisher of any individual newspaper or website to sell to avoid being shut down.”

The law is the latest and most serious threat posed to TikTok’s future in the U.S., but it is not the first time the company has faced a potential ban.

The Trump administration also tried to ban TikTok, but the measure was blocked in federal court. The company has also fended off bans on the state level, such as Montana law that a judge subsequently blocked.

But the new law is the most prominent threat facing TikTok’s future operation in the U.S. The national security basis of the law could make it more difficult for TikTok to fend off in court.

The bill passed through Congress quickly with broad bipartisan support. The House passed the bill with a resounding 352-65 vote in March, less than one week after it was first introduced.
The TikTok ban measure passed the Senate as part of a larger foreign aid package, which Biden signed into law last month.