TikTok Sues U.S. Government Over Ban Threat

Jimmy Williams

TikTok is taking a stand against the United States government’s push to force its Chinese owner to sell the app or face a ban, filing a lawsuit aimed at halting enforcement of the bill.

In the lawsuit filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, TikTok argues that the bill, known as the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, violates fundamental free speech rights enshrined in the Constitution.

TikTok describes the law as an “unprecedented violation” of the First Amendment, asserting that it imposes a nationwide ban on the platform without affording due process.

According to TikTok’s lawsuit, “For the first time in history, Congress has enacted a law that 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.”

Representative John Moolenaar (R-Mich.), chair of the House Select Committee on China, defended the legislation, emphasizing the grave national security risks posed by TikTok.

In response to TikTok’s legal challenge, Moolenaar stated, “Congress and the Executive Branch have concluded, based on both publicly available and classified information, that TikTok poses a grave risk to national security and the American people. It is telling that TikTok would rather spend its time, money, and effort fighting in court than solving the problem by breaking up with the CCP. I’m confident that our legislation will be upheld.”

The lawsuit, anticipated since President Joe Biden signed the bill last month, could prolong the process of banning or selling the app, which has already been delayed by legal proceedings.

Efforts to regulate TikTok have persisted since 2020 under both the Trump and Biden administrations, citing concerns over data security and foreign propaganda.

TikTok has implemented measures to address data security concerns, but skepticism remains among policymakers regarding its ties to the Chinese government.

The lawsuit challenges Congress’s evidence for the law, alleging it fails to demonstrate specific harm or risks posed by TikTok.

TikTok also argues that the law violates due process and constitutes an unconstitutional bill of attainder.

If upheld, the law could set a precedent for the government to target other platforms under the guise of national security.

Legal experts suggest TikTok faces an uphill battle given the bipartisan support for the law and the courts’ inclination to defer to Congress on national security matters.

TikTok’s decision to file the lawsuit directly with the D.C. Circuit Court reflects its wide-ranging jurisdiction over federal law affecting the entire nation.

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