TikTok Creators Seek To Block Potential Nationwide Ban

Eight U.S. TikTok users who have a combined 14 million followers on the platform are seeking to block a new law that bans the app unless it's sold within one year by China-based parent company ByteDance.

The law “undermines the nation’s founding principles and free marketplace of ideas,” counsel for the users writes in a petition filed Tuesday with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The plaintiffs include BluffCakes founder Chloe Joy Sexton and 2021 Shark Tank contestant Paul Tran who, along with his wife sells skincare products through the platform.

Sexton, Tran and the others allege that they “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.”



Their suit comes three weeks after President Joe Biden signed the Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which prohibits web hosting services and app marketplaces from distributing TikTok, unless it's sold within one year by ByteDance.

Lawmakers who supported the measure expressed concerns that the Chinese government would be able to obtain data from TikTok about Americans, and that the Chinese Communist Party would use the app to spread propaganda. Some lawmakers also suggested that information received through classified briefings justified the ban.

The TikTok creators argue in their complaint that the ban violates the First Amendment, which prohibits the government from censoring lawful speech.

“The government cannot ban a medium for communication because it believes that medium is used to transmit foreign 'propaganda' or other protected content,” the complaint states.

“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,” the creators' lawyers add.

The plaintiffs allege that they have amassed large audiences, and in some cases developed ecommerce businesses, due to TikTok distinguishing features -- including its recommendation engine and editing options.

Sexton has 2.2 million followers on TikTok, compared to 44,000 on Instagram, and that Tran’s company has 138,000 followers on TikTok, compared to fewer than 2,000 on Facebook, according to the complaint.

The complaint also alleges that Sexton posted the same videos to TikTok and other platforms, and they “performed vastly better” on TikTok, according to the complaint.

She “attributes these differences to the fact that TikTok’s algorithm, in her experience, gets her videos in front of the exact communities who find it most compelling,” according to the lawsuit.

Last week, TikTok and ByteDance sued to invalidate the new law.

The D.C. Circuit has consolidated TikTok's lawsuit with the new case brought by users.

The Department of Justice hasn't yet responded to the petitions.

Next story loading loading..