ByteDance Argues TikTok Ban Is Unconstitutional In Lawsuit Against U.S. Government

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of the popular short video app TikTok, has filed a lawsuit against the United States government, claiming that a recently enacted law forcing the sale of TikTok or implementing a nationwide ban is unconstitutional.

Many politicians, including former President Donald Trump, who once favored a ban on the app, have come out against its banning, noting the power it will give to the federal government in censoring information and the dangerous First Amendment precedent such a move would set.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and asserts that the legislation violates Americans’ First Amendment protections and that it raises other constitutional questions.

According to the lawsuit that’s been filed, the divestiture mandated by the law is “simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally.” ByteDance argues that Congress has taken an unprecedented step by singling out and banning a specific speech platform used by 170 million Americans to create, share and view videos online, which, when one considers the entirety of the case and legislation, as well as the dangers of a federal government that can just ban a social media platform, the argument against the federal government is actually a strong one.

The lawsuit says that the U.S.’s national security justification for the law is merely a guise for a ban because there is no feasible way for TikTok to be divested and sold within the given timeframe. ByteDance stated in its suit “There is no question: the Act (law) 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.”

The White House has expressed its desire to see Chinese-based ownership of TikTok ended on national security grounds but has not advocated for a complete ban on the app, likely because it would outrage many of his voters.