A PYMNTS Company

US Appeals Court to Hear TikTok Divestiture Case in September

 |  June 17, 2024

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia announced on Monday that it will hold oral arguments on September 16 regarding legal challenges to a newly enacted law requiring the divestiture of China-based ByteDance from its United States TikTok assets by January 19, 2025, or face a ban on the app.

The law, signed by President Joe Biden on April 24, mandates that ByteDance must sell TikTok’s U.S. operations, citing national security concerns. According to Reuters, the legislation prohibits major app stores, such as those operated by Apple and Google, from offering TikTok, and bars internet hosting services from supporting the app unless it is divested from ByteDance. This move is driven by growing fears among U.S. lawmakers that the Chinese government could use TikTok to access personal data on American users or conduct espionage.

TikTok, a social media platform with over 170 million American users, has become a significant part of the cultural landscape in the United States. Its potential ban has sparked widespread controversy and legal battles. On May 14, a group of TikTok creators filed a lawsuit aiming to block the divestiture law, arguing that TikTok has had “a profound effect on American life.” This suit followed a similar legal challenge filed by TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance.

Read more: TikTok Updates Data Usage Regulations To Fit EU Laws

The upcoming hearing, scheduled just weeks before the 2024 presidential election, has added a political dimension to the issue. Notably, former President Donald Trump, a Republican candidate in the upcoming election, recently joined TikTok and expressed concerns about the potential ban, underscoring the app’s prominence in American society and politics.

In preparation for the hearing, TikTok and the creators involved in the lawsuit must submit their legal briefs by Thursday, with the Justice Department’s briefs due by July 26. Reply briefs are expected by August 15. Both TikTok and the Justice Department have requested a ruling by December 6 to allow time for a possible Supreme Court review if necessary.

Adding to the legal complexities, a third challenge to the law was filed on June 6 by the Liberty Justice Center, representing BASED Politics Inc., a conservative group that produces content on TikTok.

The Biden administration defends the law as a necessary measure to protect national security, aiming to end Chinese-based ownership of the app without an outright ban on TikTok. This legislation was rapidly passed by Congress with overwhelming support, reflecting bipartisan concerns about the security implications of foreign ownership of popular social media platforms.

Source: Reuters