TikTok files lawsuit over law that would force sale, ban in US

FILE - The TikTok logo is displayed outside a TikTok office on December 20, 2022 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

TikTok has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. over its attempts to force a change of the company's ownership. 

TikTok and its Chinese parent company ByteDance are suing the U.S. federal government over the recently-passed law that could ban the social media platform, saying that the law is unconstitutional.

A legal challenge was expected after legislation was passed last month that requires the popular video sharing app to be sold within the next nine months or face a ban in the U.S. 

ByteDance has said it "doesn’t have any plan to sell TikTok."

The lawsuit filed Tuesday cites the First Amendment.

The popular social video company alleged the law is so "obviously unconstitutional" that the sponsors of The Protecting Americans From Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act are trying to portray the law not as a ban, but as a regulation of TikTok's ownership.

RELATED: TikTok ban bill signed by Biden - now what?

Why does the US want to ban TikTok?

Fears in Washington have been ongoing over Chinese threats and the ownership of TikTok, which is used by 170 million Americans. 

For years, lawmakers and administration officials have expressed concerns that Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over U.S. user data, or influence Americans by suppressing or promoting certain content in the algorithm.

TikTok, for its part, has denied assertions that it could be used as a tool of the Chinese government. The company has also said it has never shared U.S. user data with Chinese authorities and won’t do so if it’s asked.

The bill that would lead to its ban was rolled into a larger $95 billion package that provides foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel.

Can I download TikTok?

Yes, you will still be able to download TikTok, and if you’ve already downloaded it, that’s fine, too. 

If the ban does come to fruition, the app likely won’t just disappear from your phone either. 

But it would disappear from Apple and Google's app stores, which means users won't be able to download it. 

This would also mean that TikTok wouldn't be able to send updates, security patches and bug fixes, and over time the app would likely become unusable — not to mention a security risk.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.