TikTok Claims Ban Violates Free Speech

Photo by Kon Karampelas via Unsplash

TikTok Claims Ban Violates Free Speech

By Movieguide® Contributor

A new law signed by President Joe Biden could lead to a ban on TikTok in the U.S., but its parent company, ByteDance, argues the ban is unconstitutional.

ByteDance argued the “ban amounts to a ‘radical departure’ from the U.S. supporting an open internet, setting a ‘dangerous precedent.’ The rebuttal comes after Biden signed the law in April, which requires ByteDance to either divest the business or face a ban of the platform within the U.S,” CBS News reported Thursday.

Movieguide® previously reported:

While TikTok and creators claim the ban is unconstitutional and will harm livelihoods, the legislation was passed because of “concerns that the Chinese government could access sensitive user data through the short-form video app TikTok.”

The U.S. is not the only country that has made an effort to ban TikTok.

In 2020, India decided to ban the app, and their “government there cracked down on hundreds of Chinese-owned apps, claiming in part that they were secretly transmitting users’ data to foreign servers,” the New York Times reported.

The legal briefs have been filed both on behalf of TikTok and its users. The users alleged that the ban would hinder free speech and freedom to choose how they express themselves.

“Never before has Congress expressly singled out and shut down a specific speech forum,” TikTok said. “Never before has Congress silenced so much speech in a single act,” and “A claim of national security does not override the Constitution.”

“The Constitution does not allow Congress to single out one speech platform, make no findings, announce no justifications, ignore less restrictive alternatives, and discriminate based on speaker and content. The act is unconstitutional and must be enjoined,” the brief continued.

A spokesperson for the justice department refuted the allegations, saying that the law does not violate any of the constitution.

NPR reported Friday that there are “internal documents” that reveal an approximately 100-page long security agreement with ByteDance and the U.S. that would allow the U.S. to suspend the app should it become a threat.

“These documents are a ‘big deal’ because they show how far the company was willing to go to appease Washington’s fears,” NPR said.

If the law is not overturned, ByteDance has nine months—or twelve, including the three-month grace period—to sell TikTok.


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