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TikTok challenges Biden administration on prospective US ban

TL:DR

  • TikTok invokes the First Amendment in a legal filing to challenge the Biden administration's law to sell or ban the app.
  • The briefs, filed on June 20, represent one of TikTok's last attempts to prevent the ban from taking effect.
  • TikTok argues that the law burdens speech and silences millions, claiming divestiture by January 2025 is not feasible.

TikTok is fighting back against the Biden administration’s new law forcing the sale or ban of the app, as they highlight the First Amendment in a new legal filing.

The briefs, filed on Thursday (June 20) by TikTok and a group of eight creators, are one of the last attempts the company has to halt the ban from coming into place.

“Never before has Congress expressly singled out and shut down a specific speech forum,” they argue.

“The First Amendment requires this Court to examine such an extraordinary speech restriction with the utmost care and most exacting scrutiny.”

For the first time, the text of a roughly 100-page draft agreement that the company offered to the government in August 2022 has been shared. This was proposed in the hopes of resolving its early worries.

The Biden administration declined the offer, saying it was insufficient to neutralize concerns.

Who owns ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok?

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance has split ownership.

The Chinese founders own 20% of the firm’s shares. Around 60% is owned by institutional investors, including major US investment firms and its employees around the world own the remaining 20%. Three of ByteDance’s five board members are American, the company says.

Thursday’s move by TikTok marks the latest in the ongoing case that could determine the future of the short-form video app that is used by 170 million Americans.

In the filings, the company states the Act doesn’t just burden speech but it silences the millions of users too.

TikTok again highlights they don’t believe divestiture is feasible

In the law signed by President Joe Biden in April, TikTok’s Chinese-owned parent company ByteDance was told they had to divest or be banned but they say divestiture isn’t possible and especially not by the January 2025 deadline.

“Even if divestiture were feasible, TikTok in the United States would still be reduced to a shell of its former self, stripped of the innovative and expressive technology that tailors content to each user.

“It also would become an island, preventing Americans from exchanging views with the global TikTok community.”

Featured Image: Via Ideogram

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Sophie Atkinson
Tech Journalist

Sophie Atkinson is a UK-based journalist and content writer, as well as a founder of a content agency which focuses on storytelling through social media marketing. She kicked off her career with a Print Futures Award which champions young talent working in print, paper and publishing. Heading straight into a regional newsroom, after graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Journalism, Sophie started by working for Reach PLC. Now, with five years experience in journalism and many more in content marketing, Sophie works as a freelance writer and marketer. Her areas of specialty span a wide range, including technology, business,…

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