• Home
  • Apps
  • News
  • TikTok Sues U.S. Government to Put a Stop to Bill Requiring Sale or Shutdown

TikTok Sues U.S. Government to Put a Stop to Bill Requiring Sale or Shutdown

TikTok Sues U.S. Government to Put a Stop to Bill Requiring Sale or Shutdown

TikTok parent company ByteDance on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government to put a stop to the recently passed bill requiring ByteDance to sell TikTok to a company outside of China or face a ban in the United States.

U.S. lawmakers had hoped to force ByteDance to sell the TikTok social app to a company outside of China, due to concerns that the Chinese government could gain access to data about users located in the United States. ByteDance would not legally be able to refuse such a request from China officials. There have also been concerns that China would use TikTok to spread political propaganda.

ByteDance calls the act “obviously unconstitutional,” and says that there is no path for TikTok to continue operating in the United States. The 270-day timeline is “not possible,” and even if it were, the company claims that the act is still an “extraordinary and unconstitutional assertion of power.”

If upheld, it would allow the government to decide that a company may no longer own and publish the innovative and unique speech platform it created. If Congress can do this, it can 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. And for TikTok, any such divestiture would disconnect Americans from the rest of the global community on a platform devoted to shared content — an outcome fundamentally at odds with the Constitution’s commitment to both free speech and individual liberty.

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act that passed in April requires to sell TikTok to a U.S. government-approved company within six months, although, there is the possibility of a three-month extension if a deal is in progress.

Should ByteDance not sell the company, U.S. app stores would be required to remove the app to avoid being charged with breaking the law. Things could get complicated, as China would also need to approve the sale, and the Chinese government said last year that it would “firmly oppose” a forced sale.

While there are a limited number of companies with enough resources to be able to afford to purchase TikTok, some firms, including Google and Meta would likely not be allowed to purchase it, due to antitrust concerns.

There are a limited number of companies with enough capital to be able to afford TikTok, and the obvious choices, such as Google or Meta, would likely be barred from acquiring it due to antitrust concerns.

A report from late April claimed that ByteDance will not sell TikTok or divest itself from the platform, as selling the platform would require ByteDance to also sell the algorithms that power both TikTok and the company’s other businesses.

TikTok represents only a small piece of ByteDance’s operations. Shutting the social media platform down in the US would have a limited impact on ByteDance, and it would be able to retain its algorithms.

ByteDance is asking the court to issue a declaratory judgment that the act violates the U.S. Constitution, preventing the U.S. Attorney General from enforcing it.