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Eight TikTok creators file lawsuit against U.S. government over potential ban

By 37ci3 May15,2024

Eight TikTok creators filed a lawsuit against the US government on Tuesday, claiming that a new law forcing the popular video-sharing app to be sold or banned violates their First Amendment rights.

In a lawsuit filed in the US Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., the law “prohibits an entire medium of communication and all speech transmitted through that medium, although at least the vast majority of that speech is protected.” , states.

33 page complaint, This was first reported by The Washington PostIt comes a week after TikTok filed his claim against the federal government, also citing constitutional concerns about free speech.

The Protecting Americans from Apps Controlled by Foreign Enemies Act signed last month by President Joe Biden — pushed forward with bipartisan support after years of congressional scrutiny of TikTok — would ban the app from the U.S. market if its Chinese parent company, Bytedance, does. don’t miss it.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, describes TikTok as “a critical part of American life.”

Read more from NBC News on the potential TikTok ban:

All of the creators suing are from different states and backgrounds. All eight have “found their voices, built significant audiences, made new friends, and been exposed to new and different ways of thinking — all thanks to TikTok’s new style of speaking,” the lawsuit says.

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

According to the lawsuit, the ban “threatens to deprive them and the rest of the country of these different means of expression and communication.”

Creators who post videos voicing their concerns suggest that a TikTok ban could also threaten their livelihoods, given that they have built large communities on the platform. All of the plaintiffs have “tried using other social media apps with less success,” the lawsuit says.

For example, Sexton started making videos on TikTok in 2020 after losing his job and now has more than 2.2 million followers, according to the lawsuit. As a result of her success on the app, she started a cookie company and published a cookbook.

“To lose the platform would be to lose not only my income, but also my most effective means of connecting with people around the world,” he said. “I’m proud to be a part of this lawsuit and stand up for everyone who relies on TikTok like I do.”

TikTok, which boasts 170 million American users, has been under scrutiny by lawmakers for several years. Many supporters of the law They warned that the platform is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party and is a national security threat to the United States.

But the platform backed down – TikTok claims argued the federal government bears the burden of proving that national security concerns are not a sufficient reason to limit freedom of expression and that the restriction is reasonable. It is stated in the lawsuit that he did not meet this burden.

Tuesday’s lawsuit described the purpose of the ban as “content-based, viewpoint-based, and speaker-based,” suggesting that US congressmen, without evidence, said TikTok was spreading Chinese government propaganda or promoting “anti-American” and “anti-American” propaganda. He cited numerous examples. – Israel” message.

The Justice Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

When asked for comment on the new legal action taken by the eight creators, a TikTok spokesperson referred NBC News to the Davis Wright Tremaine law firm representing the group.

The firm has previously represented TikTok creators fighting against proposed legislation on the platform. Five content creators filed suit against the state after Montana became the first state to ban TikTok last year. A federal judge prevented the ban“It violates the Constitution in more ways than one,” he says.

In 2020, the law firm also represented three creators who sued the US government over then-President Donald Trump’s executive order banning TikTok, resulting in a federal judge blocking Trump’s ban.

According to a spokesperson for Davis Wright Tremaine, TikTok funded the plaintiffs’ legal fees in the Montana case and will do so again in this latest federal case.

“Our customers rely on TikTok to express themselves, learn and find community. They hope to protect not only their First Amendment rights, but also the rights of the approximately 170 million other Americans who use TikTok,” Ambika Kumar, the lead attorney on the case, said in an emailed statement. “The ban is a pernicious attack on freedom of speech that goes against the country’s founding principles.”

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By 37ci3

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