Advertisement

TikTok users file First Amendment suit over U.S. divest or ban law

Eight TikTok content creators sue the government Tuesday for First Amendment violations over a law requiring the company's Chinese owner to sell the app. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Eight TikTok content creators sue the government Tuesday for First Amendment violations over a law requiring the company's Chinese owner to sell the app. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

May 15 (UPI) -- A group of TikTok users sued the U.S. government over a law that would force the platform's Chinese-based parent company to sell the app to avoid a ban in the United States.

Eight content creators on the platform filed the suit alleging the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, signed into law by President Joe Biden last week, is "unconstitutionally over-broad because it bans an entire medium of communication and all the speech communicated through that medium" even though the majority of the speech is protected under the First Amendment.

Advertisement

"The government cannot ban a medium for communication because it believes that medium is used to transmit foreign 'propaganda' or other protected content. Nor does the government have any actual, non-speculative evidence that banning TikTok in its current form enhances Americans' data security, or that its ban is narrowly tailored to accomplish that objective," they wrote.

The plaintiffs in the TikTok content creator suit are Texas cattle rancher Brian Firebaugh; Tennessee cookie business owner Chloe Joy Sexton; recent college graduate Kiera Spann, who uses TikTok to educate women about sexual violence and politics; Air Force veteran and rapper Topher Townsend; Washington, D.C., "lifestyle creator" Talia Cadet; North Dakota college football coach Timothy Martin; Atlanta skin care company owner Paul Tran; and Steven King of Arizona, who uses TikTok to post comedy, fashion and relationship content.

Advertisement

The TikTok content creators' suit said while the government contends the Chinese owners of TikTok use it to manipulate Americans and disseminate propaganda to undermine American love of liberty, the law forcing its sale "undermines the nation's founding principles and free marketplace of ideas."

The U.S. government cites national security interests for the action against TikTok. To prevail in court on that the government would have to prove a compelling interest in protecting national security.

The U.S. government passed the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act to force Chinese company ByteDance to divest TikTok. Supporters of the law said it posed a national security risk to the United States due to the Chinese ownership and must be sold to a non-Chinese company or be removed from U.S. app stores.

"This legislation addresses critical national security concerns in a manner that is consistent with the First Amendment and other constitutional limitations. We look forward to defending the legislation in court," The Department of Justice said in a statement.

ByteDance refused to sell and TikTok sued May 7, citing several constitutional grounds, including First Amendment free speech rights and is "constitutionally over-broad."

Latest Headlines

news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news
news