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TikTok sues to block US law requiring sale to non-Chinese company

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TikTok and its corporate parent, ByteDance, filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday seeking to block a U.S. law mandating that the social media platform be sold to a company without ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

President Biden signed a bipartisan bill ordering ByteDance to sell TikTok to an appropriate company by Jan. 19, 2025. The lawsuit argues that such a divestiture cannot happen, noting the Chinese government’s own demands relating to TikTok.

The lawsuit argues that divestiture “is simply not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally. … 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.”

Critical to ByteDance’s argument is that 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.”

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TikTok and its corporate parent, ByteDance, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Tuesday seeking to block a U.S. law mandating that the social media platform be sold to a company without ties to the Chinese Communist Party. (Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images / Getty Images)

The lawsuit goes on to say that TikTok has already spent $2 billion on efforts to protect the data of American TikTok users, of which there are roughly 170 million.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew signaled the legal battle late last month.

“Rest assured – we aren’t going anywhere,” CEO Shou Zi Chew said in a video posted moments after Biden signed the bill. “The facts and the Constitution are on our side, and we expect to prevail again.”

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President Biden’s administration has clarified that the legislation is not seeking to ban TikTok, but rather end its involvement with the CCP.

Chew testifies before Congress

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew signaled the legal effort to block the TikTok divestiture bill in late April. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images / Getty Images)

In 2020, then-President Trump was blocked by the courts in his bid to ban TikTok and Chinese-owned WeChat, a unit of Tencent, in the United States. Trump, the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential candidate, has reversed course and said on Monday that Biden was “pushing” for a ban on TikTok and would be the one responsible if a ban were imposed, urging voters to take notice.

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“Make no mistake – this is a ban on TikTok,” Chew said, emphasizing that TikTok would continue to operate as the company challenges the restrictions.

Photo of TikTok logo and Former President Trump speaking

In 2020, then-President Trump was blocked by the courts in his bid to ban TikTok and Chinese-owned WeChat, a unit of Tencent, in the United States. (Getty Images)

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The legislation allows for Biden to extend the Jan. 19 deadline by three months.

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