Maryland TikTok star joins legal battle against federal ban

A Maryland woman is among eight content creators who have joined a lawsuit suing the U.S. government, arguing that a new law forcing the sale or ban of the app TikTok violates their First Amendment rights.

Talia Cadet of Capitol Heights, Maryland joined TikTok in March 2020. It wasn’t until 2021 and 2022 when she began creating and posting content on the platform. 

Cadet’s account has amassed nearly 130,000 followers. Her content includes books, Black-owned businesses, and other DMV-related topics.

"On TikTok, there’s just something really different about that platform, where my content took off. Now, I’m a user and content creator on the platform," Cadet told FOX 5. "I think storytelling is one of the most distinctive features about TikTok. I think another thing people love about TikTok is they have really perfected the algorithm, the ability to curate your own algorithm and see the kind of content you want to see."


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

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.

According to the 33-page complaint filed this week, the law is "unconstitutionally overboard" as it "bans an entire medium of communication and all the speech communicated through that medium, even though, at the very least, the vast majority of that speech is protected."

It was filed about a week after TikTok filed its own lawsuit against the federal government, also citing constitutional concerns over free speech.

"Other than the threats to our livelihood and the communities we built, and we fostered, I think what’s really scary is what is a violation of our First Amendment rights. That’s the concerning part," Cadet said. "The government is essentially telling us what platform we can use, how and with whom we can communicate."

The law, formally known as the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act, was signed by President Biden in April. 

There was bipartisan support behind the move to ban the app from the U.S. market if its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, does not divest it. 

Those who supported the legislation have long expressed concerns that Chinese authorities could force ByteDance to hand over data on the roughly 170 million Americans who use TikTok – a concern stemming from a set of Chinese national security laws that compel organizations to assist with intelligence gathering.


The eight content creators who are a part of the latest lawsuit filed this week in a U.S. Court of Appeals court in D.C., represent different backgrounds in terms of content and home states.

Michael Carroll, a professor of law at American University, said there is some validity to the plaintiff’s claims.

"When we think about this lawsuit, it’s a bit derivative, right? The law is directed at TikTok’s ownership structure, but it does have the consequences of…if you don’t change that ownership structure, then the app will become unavailable," Carroll said. "A lot of the claim is, you’re really targeting our speech. It’s only on TikTok we can effectively communicate. We have tried Facebook, and Instagram, our followers are much, much more fewer."

Carroll said while there is no definitive deadline for the court to respond, the court likely recognizes there is attention on this topic. He told FOX 5, there could be some elements of urgency under consideration.

In a statement Friday, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice said the legislation addresses national security in a manner that is consistent with the First Amendment. The DOJ looks forward to defending the legislation in court, a statement read in part.

"Alongside others in our intelligence community and in Congress, the Justice Department has consistently warned about the threat of autocratic nations who can weaponize technology – such as the apps and software that run on our phones – to use against us. This threat is compounded because those autocratic nations regularly force companies under their control to turn over sensitive data to the government in secret," a statement to FOX 5 read.

Check out the full lawsuit below: