TikTok is now banned in Montana. Greg Gianforte signed a bill banning the app in the state, one month after it was passed by the state legislature. The law is scheduled to go into effect in 2024, though legal challenges could delay that timeline.
The law prohibits the company from operating in the state and requires app stores to block users in Montana from downloading TikTok. App users won’t face repercussions for using the service, but app stores and TikTok face $10,000 daily fines for breaking the law.
The statewide ban, and the expected legal challenge to it, provides a preview of how future attempts to ban the app across the country might play out. In a statement, a TikTok spokesperson said the Montana law “unlawfully” violates the First Amendment rights of its users.
“Gov. Gianforte has signed into law a bill that violates the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by illegally banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state,” the spokesperson said. “We want to reassure Montanas that they can continue to use TikTok to express themselves, make a living, and find community while we continue to work to defend the rights of our users inside and outside Montana.”
Like other officials who have proposed bans or restrictions on TikTok, lawmakers in Montana have claimed that TikTok’s ties to the Chinese company, ByteDance, put the personal data of American users at risk. The company has long denied that it would turn over such data to the Chinese government, and has invested more than $1 billion in addressing data security concerns raised by US regulators.
But officials reportedly said those efforts don’t go far enough, and the US government is now trying to sell TikTok to ByteDance. If it doesn’t, TikTok will face a nationwide ban and, most likely, another massive legal battle.
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