TikTokers Say App is ‘Part of American Life’ in Lawsuit Against U.S. Gov

Reuters/Dado Ruvic
Reuters/Dado Ruvic

A coalition of TikTok creators filed a joint lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. government in hopes of preventing the popular social network from being banned early next year.

The lawsuit, filed by eight influencers, asserted that the potential ban would not only strip them of their way of living, but rob others of a critical “part of American life.”

The 33-page complaint largely echoes the same arguments TikTok made in a lawsuit it filed itself last week, claiming that a ban of the social network would be a First Amendment violation that robs 170 million U.S. users of their freedom.

Both suits come less than a month after lawmakers passed—and Joe Biden signed—a law with bipartisan support that ordered ByteDance to sell TikTok, which is estimated to be worth tens of billions, to a non-Chinese buyer.

If ByteDance fails to do so, U.S. app stores and web hosting services will be required to stop hosting it, amounting to a ban. ByteDance has until by Jan. 15, 2025—or until April 24, 2025, if the White House grants an extension—to find a buyer.

TikTok Takes to U.S. Courts to Have Nationwide Ban Scrapped

In the creators’ lawsuit, they wrote the legislation “threatens to deprive them, and the rest of the country, of this distinctive means of expression and communication.”

The plaintiffs come from eight different states and appear to only be connected through their work on TikTok. They are Brian Firebaugh, Chloe Joy Sexton, Kiera Spann, Topher Townsend, Talia Cadet, Timothy Marin, Paul Tran, and Steven King.

They’ve been outspoken against the ban in posts to TikTok, with Townsend saying in a recent video, “As Americans we should be free to choose whatever app we want to use.”

Townsend added that it’s frustrating to see a popular social network be on the chopping block without U.S. officials indicating specifically how TikTok poses a national security threat, which has overwhelmingly been cited as the reason a forced sale or ban is necessary.

“They haven’t proved or provided evidence to show the danger they’ve set out that is unique to TikTok,” Townsend said.

ByteDance has shown it has no desire to part with TikTok, and legal experts have projected the case will land in front of the Supreme Court after making its rounds in lower courts.

TikTok’s lawyers claimed in the lawsuit that it was not “commercially, technologically, or legally feasible” to sell the company as fast as ordered, largely due to its coding and reliance on ByteDance software.

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