US court expedites review of TikTok sale law

The bill received significant support in Congress due to concerns among lawmakers about Chinese access to Americans’ data and potential espionage through the app.

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A US appeals court has expedited the legal challenges to a new law requiring China-based ByteDance to divest TikTok’s US assets by 19 January or face a ban. The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has scheduled oral arguments for September following a joint request from TikTok, ByteDance, a group of TikTok content creators, and the Justice Department for a swift resolution.

In May, TikTok creators and ByteDance filed lawsuits to block the law, arguing that TikTok, used by 170 million Americans, has significantly impacted American life. The appeals court has set deadlines for legal briefs from the creators, TikTok, and ByteDance by 20 June and from the Justice Department by 26 July, with reply briefs due by 15 August. TikTok aims to resolve the legal challenge quickly to avoid seeking emergency preliminary injunctive relief.

The law, signed by President Joe Biden on 24 April, mandates ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a ban, citing national security concerns over potential Chinese access to American data. It also prohibits app stores like Apple and Google from offering TikTok and bars internet hosting services from supporting it unless ByteDance divests. The measure, driven by fears of espionage, passed overwhelmingly in Congress shortly after being introduced.