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TikTok Creators File First Amendment Lawsuit Against US Government Over Forced Divestment or Ban Law

TikTok and ByteDance also filed a lawsuit challenging the law last week.

TikTok Creators File First Amendment Lawsuit Against US Government Over Forced Divestment or Ban Law

Eight TikTok creators have filed a First Amendment lawsuit against the US government over the forced divestment or ban law.

Congress passed the "Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act" last month to force TikTok to divest or be banned in the United States. The law was baked into a roughly $90 billion foreign aid package for Israel, Ukraine, and Taiwan.

The lawsuit alleges the law is “unconstitutionally overbroad” and lacks “any conceivable legitimate interest that would warrant shuttering an entire media platform used by millions,” according to a report from The Hill.

“The government cannot ban a medium for communication because it believes that medium is used to transmit foreign ‘propaganda’ or other protected content,” the lawsuit continues. “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.”

NBC News reports:

The creators who are suing all hail from different states and backgrounds. All eight “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 lawsuit states.

The group includes Brian Firebaugh, a rancher in rural Texas; Chloe Joy Sexton, a Tennessee baker who owns a cookie business; Talia Cadet, a D.C.-area based book reviewer; Timothy Martin, a college football coach in North Dakota; Kiera Spann, a political activist in North Carolina; Paul Tran, a skin care brand founder in Georgia; Topher Townsend, a Mississippi-based rapper; and Steven King, a comedy creator in Arizona.

The ban “threatens to deprive them, and the rest of the country, of this distinctive means of expression and communication,” according to the suit.

TikTok and ByteDance also filed a lawsuit challenging the law last week, arguing that the sale is impossible and will force the app to shut down in the United States — impacting millions of users.

Former President Donald Trump and X owner Elon Musk have both come out in opposition to the ban.

Musk called it "contrary to freedom of speech and expression."

Musk wrote, "In my opinion, TikTok should not be banned in the USA, even though such a ban may benefit the 𝕏 platform. Doing so would be contrary to freedom of speech and expression. It is not what America stands for."

Trump wrote in a post on Truth Social in April, "Just so everyone knows, especially the young people, Crooked Joe Biden is responsible for banning TikTok."

The Republican nominee said that Biden is pushing for the ban to "help his friends over at Facebook become richer and more dominant."

"He is the one pushing it to close, and doing it to help his friends over at Facebook become richer and more dominant, and able to continue to fight, perhaps illegally, the Republican Party," Trump continued.

Trump also asserted that the TikTok ban is "ELECTION INTERFERENCE."

"It’s called ELECTION INTERFERENCE!" Trump exclaimed. "Young people, and lots of others, must remember this on November 5th, ELECTION DAY, when they vote! They also must remember, more importantly, that he is destroying our Country, and is A MAJOR THREAT TO DEMOCRACY!"

TikTok has claimed it contributes $24 billion annually to the U.S. economy.

"It is unfortunate that the House of Representatives is using the cover of important foreign and humanitarian assistance to once again jam through a ban bill that would trample the free speech rights of 170 million Americans, devastate 7 million businesses, and shutter a platform that contributes $24 billion to the U.S. economy, annually," a TikTok spokesperson told CBS News.

The push to ban or force divestment comes after pro-Palestinian content began going extremely viral on the platform.

Lawmakers claim that the bill is motivated by TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, having ties to the Chinese government.

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