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TikTok Challenges US Sell-Off Bill in Court

TikTok has filed a legal challenge against the US government, arguing that a recently passed bill requiring it to be sold to a US-based owner is unconstitutional and unjustified. The company claims that the bill is actually intended to ban the app in the country.

In its filing, TikTok outlines its case against the “Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act,” asserting that it unfairly targets TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance. According to TikTok, the bill is based on the hypothetical possibility that the app poses a threat, without any concrete evidence. The company argues that Congress has passed a law that permanently bans a specific speech platform, preventing Americans from participating in a global online community used by over 1 billion people.

TikTok has been emphasizing the idea of a “total ban” for the past few months, which has drawn criticism from some US politicians who claim it is misleading. However, TikTok argues that the bill effectively amounts to a ban since it is not feasible for the company to divest itself to the extent required by the bill within the specified timeframe.

The company states that complying with the “qualified divestiture” demanded by the Act is commercially, technologically, legally, and temporally impossible. TikTok has repeatedly communicated this to the US government, and the bill’s sponsors were aware of the impracticality of divestment. TikTok contends that if the Act is enforced, it will be forced to shut down by January 19, 2025, thereby silencing the 170 million Americans who rely on the platform for unique communication and expression.

TikTok argues that the bill is based on speculative threats associated with the app, with senators failing to provide any legitimate cause for concern. Many observers have noted that while senators have received briefings from cybersecurity experts, these briefings have been conducted behind closed doors, keeping the details of the TikTok threat undisclosed to the public.

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