TikTok sues the US government and refuses to divest.


TikTok has refused to comply with the United States government’s divest-or-ban legislation, and in fighting back, it has filed a lawsuit against the US government.

TikTok, previously known as Musically, a music and dance platform, is now a platform for sharing short videos owned by ByteDance Ltd., a company based in China. Since its fame in 2020, the app has been mired in various controversies, one of which is that it is a form of Chinese spyware.

The video-sharing app is banned in New Zealand, Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and India. It currently faces a ban in the United States if it doesn’t divest.

TikTok argues it’s a platform for free speech, and its existence helps millions of small businesses succeed. It says its ban will take away the livelihoods of creators and businesses, thus hurting the economy. It further argues it is “not possible: not commercially, not technologically, not legally.”

Last year, TikTok announced its $1.5 billion investment to establish a separate entity for its US operations and agreed to oversight by American tech giant Oracle Corp.

“There is no question: the Act 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,” TikTok said.

The Act, called “Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary-Controlled Applications,” is aimed at TikTok, categorizing it as a “foreign adversary-controlled application.” The platform has 270 days to divest or face a ban, which US President Joe Biden has agreed to sign.

Multiple individuals have announced their interest in buying the app if it agrees to divest, but the CEO, Shou Zi Chew, disagrees. “Congress has taken the unprecedented step of expressly singling out and banning TikTok: a vibrant online forum for protected speech and expression used by 170 million Americans to create, share, and view videos over the Internet,” said ByteDance.

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The legislation to ban TikTok was incorporated into the National Security Act in April, which also allocated extra funds to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Despite the argument about the security risk of TikTok, experts say it could affect other apps as well, giving them the power to ban any app that doesn’t align with the view of the sitting government.

According to reports by Nairametrics, TikTok was fined €10 million by the Italian Competition Authority for its inability to protect its users from dangerous online trends.

The Italian regulatory body criticized TikTok for its inadequate implementation of measures to monitor and regulate content uploaded to the platform, particularly content that poses potential risks to the safety of minors and other vulnerable individuals.

We’re watching closely as this unfolds.

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