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Will the US ban TikTok by 2025? Experts weigh in on its future

The U.S. is concerned that the Chinese government could force TikTok to share user data and manipulate algorithms to influence U.S. public opinion.
TikTok sign
Posted at 2:14 PM, May 08, 2024

TikTok and its Chinese parent company, Bytedance are suing the U.S. government over a new law that would ban the app unless Bytedance sells it within the law's 270-day deadline.

In the lawsuit, Bytedance says, "For the first time in history, Congress has enacted a law that subjects a single, named speech platform to a permanent, nationwide ban."

The suit goes on to say, "There is no question: The act will force a shutdown of TikTok by Jan. 19, 2025."

Congress passed the law with bipartisan support last month. Lawmakers had raised concerns the Chinese government could force Bytedance to share user data and it could manipulate algorithms to influence U.S. public opinion.

The TikTok logo displayed on a smartphone.

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Alan Rozenshtein, an associate professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School believes TikTok is going to argue that the threat is speculative.

"The government's going to argue that it's not particularly speculative and it's going to ultimately be up to the court to decide just how much proof of this specific concrete imminent threat is required," he said.

TikTok claims the law is an unprecedented attack on free speech. Bytedance has said it doesn't plan to sell TikTok and it's unclear whether a qualified buyer could be found.

Tom Bosworth, the owner and founder of Bosworth Law said, "There are only a handful of people in the tech sector who could buy them. Like Facebook or Instagram or Meta or whatever. But of course, that wouldn't be allowed because of antitrust laws."

Legal experts expect the challenge will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.