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Appeals court to hear challenges to potential US TikTok ban on Sept. 16

The TikTok logo is seen on a mobile phone screen in this photo illustration on 23 March, 2023 in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo by Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

A US appeals court on Monday said it will hold oral arguments on Sept. 16 on legal challenges to a new law requiring China-based ByteDance to divest TikTok’s US assets by Jan. 19 or face a ban.

On May 14, a group of TikTok creators filed suit to block the law that could ban the app used by 170 million Americans, saying it has had “a profound effect on American life” after TikTok and parent company ByteDance filed a similar lawsuit.

The hearing before the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will put the fate of TikTok in the middle of the final weeks of the 2024 presidential election. Earlier this month, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump joined TikTok and he has raised concerns about a potential ban.

The creators, TikTok and ByteDance must file legal briefs by Thursday and the Justice Department by July 26, with reply briefs due by Aug. 15.

TikTok and the Justice Department have sought a ruling by Dec. 6 in order to seek review from the Supreme Court if needed.

A third legal challenge was filed on June 6 by the Liberty Justice Center, representing BASED Politics Inc., a conservative group that posts videos on TikTok.

Signed by President Biden on April 24, the law gives ByteDance until Jan. 19 to sell TikTok or face a ban. The White House says it wants to see Chinese-based ownership ended on national security grounds, but not a ban on TikTok.

The law prohibits app stores like Apple and Alphabet’s Google from offering TikTok and bars internet hosting services from supporting TikTok unless it is divested by ByteDance.

Driven by worries among US lawmakers that China could access data on Americans or spy on them with the app, the measure was passed overwhelmingly in Congress just weeks after being introduced.

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