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TikTok Silences America


TikTok Sues to Overturn "Blatant" US Ban, Claims it’s a "Silent Coup" Against Free Speech

In a blistering rebuke of the US government, TikTok has sued to overturn a law that could ban the platform from operating in the country unless it divests from its Chinese parent company, ByteDance. The company claims that the legislation is a "blatant" attack on free speech and a "silent coup" against the First Amendment.

TikTok argues that it has repeatedly offered to address national security concerns through voluntary measures, including the creation of a subsidiary to manage US user data and heavy oversight by government agencies. However, the government has ignored these proposals and instead chosen to enact a law that effectively bans the platform without providing any explanation or justification.

"The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act is a solution in search of a problem," TikTok’s lawsuit claims. "The legislation is a transparent attempt to silence one of the largest platforms for speech in the United States, without even considering whether less restrictive alternatives could achieve the government’s supposed national security aims."

The law in question requires TikTok to either divest from ByteDance or cease operations in the US by January 19, 2025. TikTok argues that this deadline is impossible to meet, given the limited pool of potential buyers and the fact that Chinese export law would prevent the sale of its coveted recommendation algorithm.

But lawmakers who supported the legislation claim that the move is necessary to protect national security, citing concerns that the Chinese government could access US user information or pressure ByteDance to spread propaganda in the US. TikTok denies these claims, saying that its operations are separate from ByteDance’s and that it has implemented measures to protect user data.

The lawsuit comes as a growing chorus of lawmakers and experts have raised questions about the effectiveness of Project Texas, TikTok’s $2 billion effort to address national security concerns. Former employees have claimed that the project is "largely cosmetic" and that workers still engage with China-based ByteDance executives.

The court is set to hear oral arguments in the case on September 16, just a few months before the deadline. The outcome will have significant implications for free speech and the future of social media in the United States.



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