TikTok Parent Seeks to Fast-Track Suit Over US Divest-or-Ban Law

(Bloomberg) -- China-based ByteDance Ltd. asked an appeals court to speed up its lawsuit challenging a US law that would force it to sell the TikTok video-sharing app or face a ban.

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“Prompt consideration of these cases is needed to avoid irreparable harm, “ lawyers for ByteDance and TikTok said Friday in a filing in the District of Columbia federal appeals court.

The company was joined in its request by eight TikTok creators who separately sued to block the law that would ban the platform in the US if ByteDance doesn’t divest itself of the app by Jan. 19. President Joe Biden signed the measure into law in April to address national security concerns about the Chinese government accessing user data and influencing US citizens through the platform.

The legal battle, which pits free-speech rights against national-security interests, is expected to be protracted with the case potentially making its way to the US Supreme Court. If the DC Circuit expedites the case and the Supreme Court takes it up, there could be a decision by the second quarter of 2025, said Matthew Schettenhelm, an analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence.

TikTok urged the appeals court to decide on the merits of the case by Dec. 6 so there is adequate time to request an emergency review by the Supreme Court.

In its complaint, TikTok claimed that the law is unconstitutional because it violates free-speech rights.

“For the first time in history, Congress has enacted a law that subjects a single, named speech platform to a permanent, nationwide ban, and bars every American from participating in a unique online community with more than 1 billion people worldwide,” according to the 67-page suit.

TikTok also said that a “qualified divestiture” as laid out by the law wasn’t feasible. “And certainly not on the 270-day timeline required by the act,” according to the complaint.

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