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TikTok and ByteDance Challenge US Law Banning App in January

 |  June 20, 2024

TikTok and its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, have petitioned a U.S. court to invalidate a law that would ban the widely-used short video app in the United States starting January 19. ByteDance argues that the U.S. government has refused to engage in meaningful settlement negotiations since 2022.

Legislation signed by President Joe Biden in April requires ByteDance to divest TikTok’s U.S. assets by January 19 or face a ban on the app, which boasts 170 million American users. ByteDance contends that a forced divestiture is “not possible technologically, commercially or legally.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is set to hear oral arguments on September 16 concerning lawsuits filed by TikTok, ByteDance and TikTok users. The outcome of this case could determine TikTok’s future in the United States and influence how the U.S. government regulates foreign-owned apps.

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“This law is 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 and force it to sell or be shut down,” ByteDance and TikTok argue in their request to the court to overturn the law, as reported by Reuters. The legislation, which passed Congress with overwhelming support, stems from U.S. lawmakers’ concerns that China could exploit the app to access data on Americans or conduct espionage.

TikTok maintains that any attempt at divestiture or separation would be a lengthy process, even if technically feasible, and claims that the law infringes upon Americans’ free speech rights. Furthermore, TikTok asserts that the legislation unfairly targets the app, neglecting other applications with significant operations in China that collect extensive U.S. user data, as well as many U.S. companies developing software and employing engineers in China.

Source: Reuters