U.S. laws are made in Washington, D.C.
U.S. laws are made in Washington, D.C.

TikTok and the First Amendment

Learn what laws say about a court case from a famous app.

Members of Congress make laws for the United States. But a set of top laws stands above the rest. It’s the U.S. Constitution. If someone thinks a new law goes against the Constitution, they can take the issue to court. The video app TikTok is doing that now.

TikTok lets users post and watch videos. The app has more than 1 billion users. About 170 million of those are in the United States. In April 2024, the U.S. Congress passed a law that puts TikTok at risk.

Some American lawmakers are worried about safety on TikTok. The app is owned by ByteDance, a company from China. The U.S. leaders think the company may not keep user information safe. Congress’ law says that ByteDance must sell its U.S. parts — or be banned from the United States.

On May 7, TikTok took action to stop this ban. The company filed a with a court in Washington, D.C. It says the new law is . Specifically, TikTok says the law goes against the Constitution’s First Amendment. So, what is the First Amendment?

Amendments are changes to the Constitution. The First Amendment was added in 1791. It says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In simpler terms, this means people are allowed to practice their religion, gather together, and call for change. Freedom of the press means news reporters can’t be limited by government. And freedom of speech means people can say what they want.

TikTok says the new law goes against freedom of speech. After all, Americans speak out on the app. There are limits to free speech, though. Words that could lead to crimes, wars, or threats aren’t always protected.

The court will have to decide what to do in the case of TikTok. Its judges will hear both sides. They will have to answer many questions:

What exactly does the Constitution protect?
Is banning TikTok a blow to free speech?
Could TikTok really put Americans at risk?

What do you think?

Updated May 10, 2024, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Ashley Morgan

TikTok and the First Amendment

Learn what laws say about a court case from a famous app.

U.S. laws are made in Washington, D.C.
U.S. laws are made in Washington, D.C.

Members of Congress make laws for the United States. But a set of top laws stands above the rest. It’s the U.S. Constitution. If someone thinks a new law goes against the Constitution, they can take the issue to court. The video app TikTok is doing that now.

TikTok lets users post and watch videos. The app has more than 1 billion users. About 170 million of those are in the United States. In April 2024, the U.S. Congress passed a law that puts TikTok at risk.

Some American lawmakers are worried about safety on TikTok. The app is owned by ByteDance, a company from China. The U.S. leaders think the company may not keep user information safe. Congress’ law says that ByteDance must sell its U.S. parts — or be banned from the United States.

On May 7, TikTok took action to stop this ban. The company filed a with a court in Washington, D.C. It says the new law is . Specifically, TikTok says the law goes against the Constitution’s First Amendment. So, what is the First Amendment?

Amendments are changes to the Constitution. The First Amendment was added in 1791. It says:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

In simpler terms, this means people are allowed to practice their religion, gather together, and call for change. Freedom of the press means news reporters can’t be limited by government. And freedom of speech means people can say what they want.

TikTok says the new law goes against freedom of speech. After all, Americans speak out on the app. There are limits to free speech, though. Words that could lead to crimes, wars, or threats aren’t always protected.

The court will have to decide what to do in the case of TikTok. Its judges will hear both sides. They will have to answer many questions:

What exactly does the Constitution protect?
Is banning TikTok a blow to free speech?
Could TikTok really put Americans at risk?

What do you think?

Updated May 10, 2024, 5:02 P.M. (ET)
By Ashley Morgan

Draw it AskRuss