TikTok Sues Biden Administration to Block Law Banning it in the US


The hugely popular video-sharing app TikTok has filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department over a law that would force Chinese parent company ByteDance to sell the app or face a nationwide ban.

The law was signed by President Biden on April 24 after it was passed overwhelmingly by Congress amid concerns among US lawmakers that China could access data or spy on Americans through the app. The legislation gives ByteDance until January 19, 2025, to sell the app to an approved buyer.

Filed by both TikTok and ByteDance, the companies argue that the law is unconstitutional and violates the protections of free speech for its 170 million users in the US.

The lawsuit states the divestiture is “simply not possible; not commercially, not technologically, not legally. There is no question: the Act (law) will force a shutdown of TikTok by January 19, 2025, silencing the 170 million Americans who use the platform to communicate in ways that cannot be replicated elsewhere.”

In 2020, former President Donald Trump signed an executive order that would have prohibited transactions with ByteDance, citing the data collection that “threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.” Trump’s attempts to ban the app were, however, blocked by federal judges, but concerns about data protection and the app among policymakers have escalated.

In 2023, Montana became the first state to ban TikTok, but a federal judge blocked the move amid free speech concerns.

The prospect of TikTok being banned in the US has sparked concern among small businesses that rely on the app for marketing and revenue. According to data from TikTok in March 2024, more than seven million small business owners use the video-sharing platform. Many creators rely on the app to breathe new life into their brands while establishing meaningful relationships with customers.

Facing a ban, small business owners and entrepreneurs in the US are worried about their revenue streams. As are international businesses, which rely on audiences in the US to engage with their content and purchase their products.

Image: Depositphotos

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. She is based in the United Kingdom and since 2006, Gabrielle has been writing articles, blogs and news pieces for a diverse range of publications and sites. You can read "Gabrielle’s blog here.".