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Chinese TikTok claims in legal fight US ban a violation of free speech! Ridiculous!

TikTok has launched a highly anticipated legal battle to prevent its Chinese parent company from being compelled to sell its US operations, arguing that such a mandate violates Americans’ rights to free speech.

In April, TikTok and its parent company ByteDance were informed they had until January of the following year to divest TikTok in the US or potentially face a ban of the app in the country. This directive stemmed from legislation granting the US government authority to enforce such sales on grounds of national security concerns.

The primary worry revolves around fears that data from TikTok’s 170 million American users could be accessed by Beijing and that the app might be coerced by Chinese authorities to engage in surveillance. TikTok has maintained that its objective is not to ban the platform, but it has challenged the notion that a sale is feasible from technological, commercial, and legal standpoints.

Court filings argue that the legislation infringes upon Americans’ constitutional rights to free speech and highlight ByteDance’s substantial investment—$2 billion—in safeguarding US user data. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is set to hear arguments on these lawsuits on September 16.

In their application, ByteDance and TikTok assert that the law represents a significant departure from America’s tradition of supporting an open Internet, warning that it establishes a dangerous precedent by enabling political branches to target and potentially force the sale or shutdown of a disliked speech platform.

The outcome of this legal battle is anticipated to become a focal point in upcoming elections, particularly given former President Donald Trump’s outspoken opposition to banning TikTok, despite having recently joined the platform. The reaction of millions of younger voters could heavily influence the trajectory of the case, particularly if the prospect of a TikTok shutdown looms large.

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