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TikTok Creators Sue to Block U.S. Law Requiring Sale or Ban

A group of TikTok creators, including a rancher, a skin care entrepreneur and a promoter of biblical literacy, sued the federal government on Tuesday over a new law that would force the app’s Chinese owner, ByteDance, to sell the company or face a ban in the United States. They said it violated their First Amendment rights.

The eight creators “have found their voices, amassed significant audiences, made new friends and encountered new and different ways of thinking — all because of TikTok’s novel way of hosting, curating and disseminating speech,” the complaint says. The potential ban “threatens to deprive them, and the rest of the country, of this distinctive means of expression and communication.”

The suit, filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which the new law designated as the jurisdiction for challenges, was anticipated as the company’s next move after it filed its own lawsuit against the federal government last week, calling the law unconstitutional. TikTok said it was paying the legal fees for the creators’ lawsuit.

TikTok pursued a similar legal strategy in 2020, when creators successfully challenged a federal ban, as well as last year in Montana, when creators sued the state after it tried to ban the app. Davis Wright Tremaine, the law firm representing the creators, also represented the app’s creators in Montana last year.

TikTok is battling for its future in the United States after President Biden signed the law in April. Concerns had been escalating for years among lawmakers and intelligence officials that the Chinese government could lean on ByteDance to turn over sensitive TikTok user data or use the app to spread propaganda.

TikTok has pushed back on those claims and said it had spent billions of dollars to address security concerns. Many legal experts expect the wrangling over the law to reach the Supreme Court.

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