ByteDance Denies Plans to Sell TikTok, Challenges 'Unconstitutional' U.S. Law Forcing Sale or Ban

ByteDance denies plans to sell TikTok, challenges 'unconstitutional' U.S. law forcing its sale or ban. Legal battle over TikTok's future in the U.S. highlights tensions between the two countries over technology and national security.

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Nitish Verma
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ByteDance Denies Plans to Sell TikTok, Challenges 'Unconstitutional' U.S. Law Forcing Sale or Ban

ByteDance Denies Plans to Sell TikTok, Challenges 'Unconstitutional' U.S. Law Forcing Sale or Ban

ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, has denied plans to sell the popular short-video app after the U.S. government passed a law forcing TikTok's sale or ban. The company has challenged the 'unconstitutional' measure in court, indicating that it has no intention of selling TikTok under threat of force.

The new U.S. law, signed by President Biden, gives ByteDance between 9 months and a year to divest TikTok's U.S. operations or face removal from mobile app stores. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew has vowed to fight the law in court, calling it a 'ban' on the app and its 170 million American users. "We will challenge this unconstitutional law in court and expect to win," Chew stated.

ByteDance argues that separating TikTok's algorithms from the parent company would be an extremely complicated process, and the company is unlikely to consider that option. A ByteDance spokesperson said, "ByteDance doesn't have any plan to sell TikTok. The algorithms TikTok relies on are considered core to ByteDance's overall operations, making a sale of the app with its algorithms highly unlikely."

The U.S. government's concerns over data access and potential surveillance by China have driven the push for a TikTok sale or ban. However, TikTok has denied these claims and taken steps to separate its U.S. operations from the Chinese parent company, including investing $1.5 billion to store TikTok data in the U.S.

Why this matters: The battle over TikTok's future in the U.S. highlights the growing tensions between the two countries over technology and national security. The outcome of this legal challenge could set a precedent for how the U.S. government regulates foreign-owned social media platforms and their handling of user data.

Legal experts believe the law has a 70% chance of surviving a legal challenge, as courts tend to defer to Congress on national security matters. However, TikTok's argument that the law violates free speech is strong, and the Chinese government has signaled its opposition to a forced sale. ByteDance says it would prefer to shut down TikTok in the U.S. rather than sell it, as the app accounts for a small share of its total revenues and daily active users.

Key Takeaways

  • ByteDance denies plans to sell TikTok, challenges 'unconstitutional' U.S. law forcing TikTok's sale or ban.
  • TikTok CEO vows to fight the law in court, calling it a 'ban' on the app and its 170 million U.S. users.
  • ByteDance says separating TikTok's algorithms from the parent company is highly unlikely due to complexity.
  • U.S. concerns over data access and potential surveillance by China drive push for TikTok sale or ban.
  • Legal experts believe the law has a 70% chance of surviving a legal challenge, but TikTok's free speech argument is strong.