TikTok Sues U.S. Government, Alleging Ban Violates First Amendment

tik tok sues us gov

The social media giant is alleging that a potential ban signed into law last month violates the First Amendment rights of the platform and its users

Social media giant TikTok has sued the U.S. government, alleging that recently signed legislation that could potentially ban the app violates the First Amendment rights of both the company and its users. 

Last month, President Joe Biden signed a foreign aid package that included legislation requiring ByteDance — TikTok’s Chinese parent company — to sell the social media platform within 270 days or be banned from app stores and web-hosting services. The legislation would also create a process through which the president can designate other social media applications with ties to foreign governments as a national security risk and force divestment.  

“Congress has taken the unprecedented step of expressly singling out and banning TikTok: a vibrant online forum for protected speech and expression used by 170 million Americans to create, share, and view videos over the Internet,” the company wrote in their Tuesday filing to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

“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.” 


Under the Constitution’s First Amendment, Congress cannot outright ban the application in the U.S. without first proving that it poses an imminent national security risk. Lawmakers acknowledge this and contend that the proposed legislation is not an outright ban, but rather a narrow expansion of presidential authority to better regulate the influence of foreign governments in the tech sector.

TikTok contends that the government has not adequately outlined any national security “threat posed by TikTok nor explain why TikTok should be excluded from evaluation under the standards Congress concurrently imposed on every other platform,” and accused the government of operating on “hypothetical” concerns.   

Source link: https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/tiktok-sues-government-ban-violates-first-amendment-1235016534/

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