TikTok says the government did not adequately consider viable alternative options before moving forward with the law The platform could be banned in the United States. TikTok, whose parent company ByteDance is based in China, claims that it provided the US government with a broad and detailed plan to mitigate national security risks and that this plan was largely ignored when Congress passed a law with a significant impact on free speech.

In briefs filed in D.C. Circuit Court on Thursday, both Tik Tok And A group of creative people On the platform who They filed their own suit They explained their case for why they believe the new law violates the First Amendment. The court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case on September 16, just a few months before the current deadline for withdrawal or ban of January 19, 2025.

the Protecting Americans from Foreign Controlled Applications Act That would effectively prevent TikTok from operating in the US unless it withdraws from ByteDance by the deadline. The President has the option of extending this deadline slightly if he sees progress towards reaching an agreement. But creating TikTok isn’t exactly easy, given the difficult circumstances it faces Limited pool of potential buyers And the truth of that China’s export law is likely to prevent the sale of the desired recommendation algorithm.

But lawmakers who supported the legislation They said the divestment was necessary to protect national security – Because they fear that the Chinese government will have access to American user information due to the company’s ownership in China, and because they fear that ByteDance may be pressured by the Chinese government to tip the scales on the algorithm to spread propaganda in the United States. TikTok denies this has happened or is likely to happen in the future, saying its operations are separate from those of ByteDance.

The broad outlines of TikTok’s arguments were already in place stipulated in the complaints. But the new filings provide a more comprehensive look at how TikTok has engaged with the US government over several years with detailed plans on how it believes it can mitigate national security concerns while continuing its operations.

In an addendum, TikTok provided hundreds of pages of communications with the US government, including presentations the company made to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) when it was assessing national security risks related to its ownership setup. One group explains the basics of how its algorithm figures out what to recommend users to watch next, as well as a detailed plan to mitigate the risks of improperly accessing US user data. It goes further to include a scheme for a “dedicated Transparency Centre,” Through its cooperation with OracleA select group of employees in TikTok’s US data operations can access the source code in a secure computing environment. According to the slide deck, no ByteDance employees will be allowed at the venue.

TikTok described the law as “unprecedented,” adding: “[n]Never before has Congress so expressly designated and closed a specific speech forum. Never before has Congress silenced so much speech in one act.

Courts typically apply a standard known as strict scrutiny in this type of speech case – the government must have a compelling interest in restricting expression, and the restriction must be narrowly tailored to achieve its goal.

TikTok claims that Congress left the court “almost nothing to review” when scrutinizing “such an extraordinary restriction on speech.” The company says Congress failed to produce findings to justify its reasoning behind the law, leaving only statements by individual members of Congress Let the court explode. (Several of these phrases are included In the appendix Provided by TikTok.)

“There is no indication that Congress has even considered TikTok Inc.’s comprehensive efforts over many years to address government concerns that Chinese subsidiaries of its privately-owned parent, ByteDance Ltd., support the TikTok platform — concerns that may It also applies to many other companies operating in China. Lawmakers received confidential briefings before their vote, which some said influenced or strengthened their final position on the bill, but the public remains unable to access the information In those briefings, though, some lawmakers did He pushed for their declassification.

The company also said that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which was tasked with evaluating its risk mitigation plan in the first place, did not provide an objective explanation for why it took such a hard line on divestment in March 2023. TikTok claims that when it explained its reason for divestment, it was not This is possible and she requested to meet government officials, but “did not receive any meaningful responses.” The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and the Department of Justice did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

TikTok said it has already implemented many of its plans voluntarily through its $2 billion Texas project

The text of the draft national security agreement that TikTok submitted to CFIUS is included in an addendum filed with the court. The draft included proposed changes such as creating TikTok, an American data security company, a subsidiary that will be tasked with managing operations involving U.S. user data, as well as heavy oversight by the agencies that make up the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. TikTok said it has already implemented many of its plans voluntarily through its $2 billion Texas project. Still, Recent reports have raised questions About how effective this project really is for national security purposes. In a report in luck From AprilFormer TikTok employees said the project was “largely cosmetic” and that workers were still interacting with ByteDance executives in China.

Regardless, the court will have to consider whether the US government should have considered a less restrictive path to expression to achieve national security goals, which TikTok says it should have done. “In short, Congress reached for a sledgehammer without even considering whether a scalpel would be enough,” TikTok wrote in its brief. “It ordered the closure of one of the largest platforms for expression in the United States and left petitioners — and the public — to guess why a wide range of less restrictive alternatives to speech were ignored. The First Amendment requires much more than that.

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