May 29, 2024 1 min read

US court agrees to fast-track legal challenge over TikTok ban

The legal challenge over the proposed TikTok ban in the US will be fast-tracked, so that oral arguments will begin in September. Under a law passed by US Congress, TikTok owner ByteDance has until 19 Jan 2025 to sell the app or face a ban, meaning its legal efforts to block the ban are pretty urgent

US court agrees to fast-track legal challenge over TikTok ban

The US appeals court that will consider the legal case against the TikTok-targeting sell-or-be-banned law that was passed by US Congress has agreed to fast-track the proceedings. Given that the law gives TikTok’s China-based owner ByteDance until 19 Jan 2025 to sell the app or face a ban, all parties involved in the legal challenge agreed that a speedier than normal timeline was required. 

TikTok itself and a group of TikTok creators are seeking to block the law, mainly by arguing that a sale of the app is unrealistic and a ban unconstitutional on free speech grounds. The lawsuits name US Attorney General Merrick Garland as the defendant. Earlier this month TikTok, the creators and Garland’s office all asked the Washington DC appeals court that is considering the legal challenge to “expedite briefing, argument and decision in this case”. 

The court has agreed to a timeline pretty much in sync with what was requested. TikTok and the creators must file legal briefs with the court by 20 Jun, and Garland’s team at the Department Of Justice by 26 Jul. Reply briefs will then be submitted by 15 Aug. That will then allow oral arguments to be made in court in September. 

In the proposed timeline presented earlier this month, lawyers said that they were aiming for a ruling by 6 Dec. Given whichever party loses the case will almost certainly appeal to the US Supreme Court, that will allow a little time to begin that process. 

Lawmakers in Washington passed the sell-or-be-banned law over concerns that the Chinese government has access to TikTok user-data via ByteDance, something TikTok denies. Supporters of the law claim that ByteDance will ultimately sell TikTok, meaning it isn’t really a ban that will negatively impact American consumers. 

However, ByteDance insists that, for technical, commercial and legal reasons, selling TikTok - even just within the US - isn’t an option, meaning, if these legal challenges fail, the app will be closed off to American creators and users.

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