TikTok Prepares Legal Challenge Against Potential US App Ban

TikTok is gearing up for a legal battle if Congress approves legislation that could lead to a nationwide ban of the popular app, according to an internal memo obtained by CNN.

Michael Beckerman, TikTok’s head of public policy for the Americas, warned employees in the memo about the potential consequences of a bill passed by the House of Representatives. The legislation, embedded in a foreign aid package, could pave the way for banning TikTok nationwide and is expected to be considered by the Senate soon.

Beckerman described the legislation as an “unprecedented deal” between Republican Speaker Mike Johnson and President Joe Biden. He emphasized that TikTok would challenge the bill in court once signed by President Biden, viewing it as the start of a lengthy legal process rather than a definitive conclusion.

The memo, initially reported by The Information, highlighted TikTok’s plan to contest the legislation on the grounds of infringing users’ First Amendment rights. Beckerman invited employees to an internal town hall for further discussion and context on the matter.

The legislation proposes compelling TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, to divest the app within 270 days. Failure to comply would result in US app stores being prohibited from offering TikTok for downloads. Additionally, President Biden could extend the deadline by another 90 days if progress toward a sale is deemed insufficient.

While supporters of the legislation argue that it safeguards Americans’ personal data, TikTok maintains its opposition, framing the bill as a threat to free speech. Legal experts have suggested that TikTok may have a case based on First Amendment principles, noting that courts typically scrutinize laws for their impact on speech, not just their stated intent.

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