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TikTok Creators Sue to Halt US Divestment or Prohibit Law

TikTok creators file lawsuit to halt the US divestiture or ban statute. A diverse range of creators argue that TikTok has had a tremendous impact on American life. The lawsuit contends that the regulation harms free speech and could lead to the closure of the app.

TikTok users who are suing include a Texas Marine Corps veteran who sells ranch products, a Tennessee woman who sells cookies and talks about parenting, a North Dakota college coach who makes sports commentary videos, a Mississippi hip hop artist who shares Biblical quizzes and a recent college graduate in North Carolina who advocates for the rights of sexual assault survivors.


"Although they come from different places, professions, walks of life, and political persuasions, they are united in their view that TikTok provides them a unique and irreplaceable means to express themselves and form community," according to the lawsuit.


Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, a law firm representing the inventors, gave Reuters with a copy of the case, which it said was filed in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.


The White House declined to respond. A Justice Department official stated that the TikTok rule "addresses critical national security concerns in a manner that is consistent with the First Amendment and other constitutional limitations. We look forward to defending the legislation in court."


The lawsuit, which seeks injunctive relief, claims that the rule violates free expression and "promises to shutter a discrete medium of communication that has become part of American life."


TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance filed a similar lawsuit last week, claiming that the rule violates the United States Constitution on a variety of reasons, including First Amendment free expression protections.


TikTok creators filed a similar action in 2020 to thwart a previous effort to ban the app under then-President Donald Trump, and they also sued last year in Montana, seeking a judge to block a state ban. In both cases, courts overruled the bans.


Trump has recently shifted stance and criticised moves to ban TikTok, although he has not joined the app.


Biden signed the measure on April 24, giving ByteDance until January 19 to sell TikTok or face a ban. The White House has stated that it wants to restrict Chinese ownership on national security reasons, but not a ban on TikTok.

The rule prevents app stores such as Apple and Alphabet's Google from distributing TikTok, as well as internet hosting providers from supporting TikTok, until ByteDance divests from TikTok.


The complaint filed by the creators stated "because TikTok currently has approximately 170 million users in the United States, the fine for continuing to enable access to TikTok would be roughly $850 billion."


According to the lawsuit, "it has tried that strategy before and lost." The complaint contends that "the concerns are speculative, and even if they were not, they could be addressed with legislation much more narrowly tailored to any purported concern."


The TikTok complaint stated last week that the divestiture "is simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally ... There is no question: the Act (law) will force a shutdown of TikTok by January 19, 2025."


Driven by concerns among US senators that China may use the app to acquire data on Americans or spy on them, the bill was passed by Congress overwhelmingly just weeks after it was presented.


The four-year battle over TikTok represents a crucial battleground in the ongoing conflict between the United States and China over the internet and technology. In April, Apple announced that China had ordered it to remove Meta, opens new tab WhatsApp, and Threads from its App Store in China due to national security concerns.


If Biden believes ByteDance is making progress, he may extend the January 19 deadline by three months. The authors' complaint points out that Biden's campaign uses TikTok, quoting his campaign's deputy manager as saying it "would be silly to write off any place where people are getting information about the president."

 
  • TikTok creators file lawsuit to halt the US divestiture or ban statute.

  • A diverse range of creators argue that TikTok has had a tremendous impact on American life.

  • The lawsuit contends that the regulation harms free speech and could lead to the closure of the app.


Source: REUTERS


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