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‘Wiping out my customer base’: TikTokers sue over possible ban

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(NewsNation) — Eight TikTok content creators sued the U.S. government Tuesday, issuing another challenge to the new federal law that would ban the popular social media platform nationwide if its China-based parent company doesn’t sell its stakes within a year.

Brian Firebaugh, one of the TikTok creators in the lawsuit, joined “NewsNation Now” to discuss the suit and how a TikTok ban would impact him, saying his livelihood depends on the platform.

“Where this actually comes into play is the fact that TikTok is such a huge marketing platform for us, and 99% to 100% of our customers are directly coming from that app. So if you were to take it away, you’re basically wiping out my entire customer base, my ability to speak with them,” Firebaugh said.


What’s happening to TikTok?

Attorneys for the creators argue in the lawsuit that the law violates users’ First Amendment rights to free speech, echoing arguments made by TikTok in a separate lawsuit filed by the company last week. The legal challenge could end up before the Supreme Court.

The Department of Justice said the legislation that could ban TikTok “addresses critical national security concerns in a manner that is consistent with the First Amendment and other constitutional limitations. We look forward to defending the legislation in court.”

“They say that it’s a national security threat. If that was the case, why do we have the leader of the free world on TikTok? His whole campaign is advertising on TikTok, and he’s very active on TikTok, and so I don’t believe for one instance that it is a national threat,” Firebaugh said. “I’m pretty sure you’d have most Americans standing up and saying, ‘Absolutely, let’s go and ban this.’ But they have not shown a shred of evidence to show that this is actually really happening.”


Top US and Chinese officials begin talks on AI in Geneva

The federal law comes at a time of intense strategic rivalry between the U.S. and China on a host of issues and as the two butt heads over sensitive geopolitical topics like China’s support for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine.

U.S. lawmakers and administration officials have aired concerns about how well TikTok can protect users’ data from Chinese authorities and have argued its algorithm could be used to spread pro-China propaganda, which TikTok disputes.