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TikTok sues US to block potential ban

FILE - The TikTok logo is placed on the U.S. and Chinese flags in this illustration.
FILE - The TikTok logo is placed on the U.S. and Chinese flags in this illustration.

TikTok said on Tuesday it filed a federal lawsuit challenging a law signed by U.S. President Joe Biden that would force the sale or ban of the social media app.

The company argues the bill violates First Amendment free speech protections.

The law, signed by Biden in late April, gives TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, less than eight months to sell TikTok or face a ban.

The divestiture "is simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally,” TikTok and ByteDance said in their filing. “There is no question the act will force a shutdown of TikTok by January 19, 2025, silencing the 170 million Americans who use the platform to communicate in ways that cannot be replicated elsewhere.”

Under the new law, Apple and Google cannot legally offer the TikTok app. Internet hosting services would also be prohibited from supporting the app.

The law was passed after U.S. lawmakers expressed concern that TikTok invokes national security concerns because China could collect data of Americans through its app. The bill overwhelmingly passed in the House last month after a unanimous committee vote moved it to the floor.

The Chinese government "has made clear that it would not permit a divestment of the recommendation engine that is a key to the success of TikTok in the United States," the lawsuit said.

The filing said TikTok spent $2 billion on measures to protect user data. TikTok also agreed to a "shutdown option" that would give the U.S. the authority to suspend the app if it violated the terms of a 90-page draft National Security Agreement.

Biden could extend TikTok’s January deadline by three months if he decides ByteDance is making progress toward a sale of the business.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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