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Racial justice, civil rights groups join to fight potential TikTok ban

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(WASHINGTON) — A coalition of racial justice and civil rights nonprofit advocacy organizations are formally joining the fight to prevent a ban on TikTok.

The Asian American Federation, Asian Americans Advancing Justice Southern California, Calos Coalition and Hispanic Heritage Foundation are among the 13 groups arguing that TikTok serves as an essential platform for communities of color and other marginalized groups.

“TikTok is a modern-day digital town square that empowers diverse communities, often neglected by traditional media outlets, to share their underrepresented voices with people across America and the world,” lawyers from the firm Cooley LLP wrote in a court filing expected to be filed Thursday on behalf of the coalition.

The Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law as part of a larger spending package, could potentially make the app unavailable in the U.S. TikTok and its parent company ByteDance filed a lawsuit against the law, which is now formally supported by the civil rights nonprofits.

Supporters of company’s lawsuit argue the legislation threatens the First Amendment rights of 170 million U.S. users and would effectively ban the app. The groups argue the legislation is unconstitutional and they also expressed “grave concerns about anti-Asian animus undergirding the TikTok Ban.”

“The TikTok Ban imposes an unprecedented prior restraint on free speech, silencing countless voices, while also discriminating on content and viewpoint,” the Cooley lawyers wrote.

Congressional leaders and President Biden have argued that restricting the app is necessary due to security concerns with the Chinese government.

ByteDance refuted those allegations in its lawsuit, arguing there has been no tangible evidence that the app poses any security risk.

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