TikTok content creators file lawsuit against impending restriction by U.S. authorities.

People demonstrate in favor of TikTok outside the United States Capitol in Washington, DC on March 13, 2024.

Protesters gathering outside the United States Capitol on March 13, 2024, in Washington, DC, which includes one of the individuals taking legal action against the government, Kiera Spann.Credit: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

A group of eight TikTok developers are initiating legal action against the United States government to block a law that would prohibit the application unless its parent company divests.

As first reported by the Washington Post, the 33-page legal document was submitted on Tuesday, contending that the legislation infringes upon First Amendment liberties by attempting to close down a distinct form of communication that has become an integral part of American society, labeling the law an “exceptional restriction on freedom of speech.”

“By endorsing the legislation, policymakers alleged that TikTok ‘influence[s]’ American minds and disseminates ‘propaganda’ that would ‘abuse our country’s free marketplace to diminish our affection for freedom.’ However, it is the legislation itself that devalues the nation’s foundational principles and free exchange of ideas,” asserted the complaint.

The case, presented in the federal Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia, is urging the court to declare the law unconstitutional and ultimately block its enforcement.

The developers, who additionally expressed in the lawsuit how TikTok has transformed their lives and careers, vary in terms of home states, age, and professions. The complete roster includes: livestock farmer Brian Firebaugh (@cattleguy), pastry chef Chloe Joy Sexton (@chloebluffcakes), advocate and content creator Kiera Spann (@famousblonde), rapper Topher Townsend (@tophertownmusic), lifestyle creator Talia Cadet (@taliacadet), soccer player Timothy Marin (@timbosliceoflife12), Love & Pebble co-founder Paul Tran (@loveandpebble), and beauty and comedy influencer Steven King (@btypep).

Several of the plaintiffs, such as Townsend, Spann, and Firebaugh, have shared on TikTok about their resolution to participate in the legal action. Townsend elaborated, “No platform is flawless and TikTok is the most suitable I’ve encountered thus far,” elaborating in the video that he is “forever appreciative” to the app. As per the Washington Post, all the developers emphasized that TikTok is an indispensable tool for self-expression, speech, and connection.

The lawsuit also emphasized that TikTok has a “significant impact on American society”, illustrating how the app has altered the lives of the petitioners: “They have discovered their voices, built substantial audiences, formed new friendships, and been exposed to novel and diverse ways of thinking—all due to TikTok’s innovative approach to hosting, curating, and distributing content.”

King, one of the litigants, relayed to the Post, “On TikTok, we have the ability to access and receive information that is unfiltered, devoid of a political narrative. We possess direct means to learn about global events at our fingertips.”

The developers are being represented by the legal firm Davis Wright Tremaine based in Seattle, specializing in cases related to the First Amendment and having previously represented five TikTok developers in Montana in their opposition to last year’s proposed state ban (which ultimately passed into law).

TikTok itself is funding the legal fees of the developers for this lawsuit. The app is presently suing the government as well, having initiated legal proceedings on May 7, shortly after President Biden signed the legislation. TikTok’s lawsuit contested the ban as “unconstitutional”.

Valentina Rogers

Valentina is a tech-savvy wordsmith, blending her expertise in digital trends with a talent for crafting compelling stories that resonate with readers of all backgrounds.

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