TikTok is set to lay off a significant portion of its global workforce due to the US ban threat

TikTok is set to lay off a significant portion of its global workforce today, following recent legislation from President Joe Biden that would mandate the sale of the platform by Chinese parent company ByteDance to a US-based company or face a ban .

The social media giant, which has about 1,000 employees worldwide, will issue layoff notices to its user operations, content and marketing teams, according to sources reported by The Information. The exact number of layoffs remains unclear, but it is believed that TikTok's global operations team, responsible for user support and communications, will be completely disbanded.

This large-scale layoff marks a departure from ByteDance's usual approach of implementing cost-cutting measures in smaller phases. Insiders revealed that some team members who have not been laid off will be moved to other departments, such as trust and safety, marketing, content and product.

TikTok had already laid off dozens of employees early this year, but has historically avoided the large-scale layoffs that are more common at other tech companies.

The layoffs coincide with Biden's recent signing of a law that gives ByteDance until Jan. 19 to sell TikTok to a U.S.-based company or face a ban. The law bans app stores such as Apple and Google's Play Store from offering TikTok and prevents internet hosting services from supporting the app unless ByteDance divests it.

The White House has expressed national security concerns and emphasized the need to end Chinese ownership rather than impose a blanket ban on TikTok.

In response, a group of TikTok creators filed a lawsuit in U.S. federal court last week to block the new law. The lawsuit, backed by law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, argues that TikTok is a unique platform for self-expression and community building, and that the ban threatens free speech under the First Amendment.

ByteDance also filed a lawsuit earlier this month, arguing that the new legislation violates the U.S. Constitution on several grounds, including protections for freedom of speech. This follows a similar lawsuit by TikTok creators in 2020 to prevent an earlier attempt to ban the app, and another lawsuit last year challenging a state ban in Montana.

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