TikTok has initiated legal action seeking to prevent a U.S. ban unless its Chinese parent company, ByteDance, relinquishes its ownership stake. This move comes amid congressional concerns that data from millions of American users could potentially be accessed by China.

Despite accusations, TikTok maintains that ByteDance operates independently of any government, including China. ByteDance also disputes its characterization as a Chinese entity, citing that 60% of its ownership lies with global investment firms.

TikTok’s immense popularity in the United States has escalated tensions between Washington and Beijing. The platform boasts a monthly user base of 170 million Americans, with particularly high engagement among teenagers—60% of whom use TikTok, and 20% report using it almost nonstop. Additionally, over 40% of American users rely on TikTok as a primary news source.

On Tuesday, TikTok challenged a proposed ban, describing it in the lawsuit as a severe infringement on free speech and an attack on the rights of its American user base. The feasibility of a total ban is questionable, and while a forced sale of TikTok might appear more straightforward, it is fraught with complications. Analysts predict that Beijing would oppose any sale, and it remains uncertain who might purchase TikTok’s U.S. operations, which could be valued as high as $100 billion.

A key unresolved issue remains whether ByteDance would agree to sell TikTok, its most lucrative app.