TikTok to challenge the law that could ban the app in the states, calling it unconstitutional


Now that President Joe Biden has signed into law the bill that could result in TikTok getting banned in the U.S., the Chinese company that owns the platform, ByteDance, is on the clock. It has 270 days to divest itself of the extremely popular short-form video app or else it will be banned in the states. The president, at his discretion, can expand the deadline to one year if he feels that a sale of the app is close and additional time is needed.

U.S. lawmakers are concerned that ByteDance can be forced to turn over the personal data it collects from TikTok subscribers in the states to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party). Additionally, there are concerns that TikTok will take advantage of its popularity in the country (it has 170 million U.S. subscribers) to spread propaganda to users, especially young and impressionable U.S. subscribers. “About two in three young people in the US have a TikTok account,” said Andrew Przybylski, professor of human behaviour and technology at Oxford University.

Despite the new legislation, TikTok is confident that it will be able to claim that the law violates the First Amendment. Per the BBC, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said, “We are confident and we will keep fighting for your rights in the courts. The facts, and the Constitution, are on our side… rest assured, we aren’t going anywhere. Make no mistake, this is a ban – a ban on TikTok, and a ban on you, and your voice.” The executive says that TikTok users should share their stories about how TikTok improved their lives.

TikTok released a separate statement that said, “The fact is, we have invested billions of dollars to keep U.S. data safe and our platform free from outside influence and manipulation.” But U.S. lawmakers don’t believe it. The top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), said, “For years we’ve allowed the Chinese Communist party to control one of the most popular apps in America… that was dangerously short-sighted. A new law is going to require its Chinese owner to sell the app. This is a good move for America.”  

In response, TikTok has said that ByteDance “is not an agent of China or any other country.” ByteDance itself says that it is not a Chinese company as a global investment firm owns 60% of it. If ByteDance challenges the legislation all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, it could buy ByteDance and TikTok some time before it has to comply with the legislation. Additionally, nine months might not be enough time to have the sale of a major app like TikTok clear all regulatory agencies.

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