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TikTok users sue federal government over law that could ban app

Wednesday

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A group of TikTok users has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, contesting a new law that could compel the sale of the popular video-sharing app or result in its U.S. ban. The eight users, collectively boasting millions of followers, argue that the law signed by President Joe Biden violates their First Amendment rights.

They contend that it stifles a communication medium integral to American life, hindering their content creation and viewing experiences.

Chloe Joy Sexton, Christopher Townsend and Steven King — among the users involved in the court battle — assert that the law undermines free speech principles. This legal challenge is the second filed in federal court against the Protecting Americans from the Adversary Controlled Applications Act, aiming to prevent its enforcement.

TikTok and parent company ByteDance have also submitted their own suit last week, claiming that the law infringes on First Amendment rights.

Part of a foreign aid package, the law mandates that ByteDance divest its TikTok stake within 270 days. Noncompliance would sever TikTok’s access to mobile app stores and web-hosting providers, impacting its estimated 170 million U.S. users.

National security concerns and Chinese government influence prompted this legislation.

TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, pivotal to its popularity, faces scrutiny. The Chinese government opposes divestment, emphasizing the platform’s unique community and style. For users, TikTok represents income streams and opportunities beyond the app. A ban risks severing ties with followers and revenue generated from videos and products.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

A GROUP OF TIKTOK USERS IS SUING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OVER A NEW LAW THAT COULD FORCE THE SALE OF THE APP OR LEAD TO IT BEING BANNED IN THE U.S.

THE 8 USERS ARGUE IT VIOLATES THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

TIKTOK AND ITS PARENT COMPANY BYTEDANCE ALSO FILED A SIMILAR SUIT IN FEDERAL COURT LAST WEEK, CITING ITS IMPACT ON FREE SPEECH FOR ITS 170 MILLION U.S. USERS.

THE LAW WAS PART OF CONGRESS’S FOREIGN AID PACKAGE AND REQUIRES BYTEDANCE TO SELL ITS TIKTOK STAKE WITHIN 9 MONTHS. FAILURE TO COMPLY RISKS CUTTING OFF TIKTOK FROM MOBILE APP STORES.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAYS NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS AND CHINESE GOVERNMENT INFLUENCE PROMPTED THE LEGISLATION.