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8 TikTok Stars Take On the U.S. Government In First Amendment Battle Royale

Eight TikTok content creators filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government on Tuesday in a Washington appeals court. The lawsuit challenges the controversial federal law that would ban the popular app nationwide if its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, fails to sell its stakes within a year. The lawsuit argues that the law violates the creators’ First Amendment rights to free speech, Associated Press reports.

The group of creators includes Brian Firebaugh, a Texas-based rancher with over 430,000 followers who says TikTok allowed him to quit his full-time job and make a living through the platform. Chloe Joy Sexton, a Memphis-based baker with over 2 million followers who runs an online cookie business, claims TikTok created a “viral trajectory” for her brand.

Other plaintiffs include creators who use TikTok to advocate for causes, share their daily lives, build communities, and operate e-commerce businesses through TikTok Shop. According to AP, the lawsuit states they “rely on TikTok to express themselves, learn, advocate for causes, share opinions, create communities, and even make a living.”

This legal challenge follows a separate lawsuit filed last week by TikTok itself. Both cases argue that U.S. law is unconstitutional and seek court orders to prevent enforcement by the Department of Justice. The DOJ asserts the legislation “addresses critical national security concerns” related to TikTok’s China ties.

The platform’s parent company, ByteDance, stated that wholly divesting the U.S. TikTok business, as mandated, would be impossible since the app shares core technology across its 1 billion global users. ByteDance also claimed China would not permit the sale of TikTok’s key recommendation algorithm fueling its success.

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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