Helena, MA– Montana has become the first state to pass legislation that would completely ban the use of TikTok.
Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law on Wednesday stating that the law is to protect U.S. citizens from the Chinese Communist Party’s information harvesting plot:
“Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party,” Gianforte said in a statement.
The ban is expected to be challenged, but it is unclear where the challenge will originate from. The American Civil Liberties of Montana and NetChoice have expressed concerns that the law is unconstitutional.
TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter has also spoken out against the law stating that the ban infringes on people’s First Amendment rights and is unlawful:
“We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana,” Oberwetter said in a statement.
Oberwetter declined to say, however, whether or not TikTok will file a lawsuit.
The FBI and some lawmakers have long expressed their concerns that the social media app owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, could allow the Chinese government to access information on U.S. citizens or be used to spread misinformation.
The use of TikTok has been banned on government-owned devices but Montana is the first state to ban the use of TikTok on personal devices.
Montana’s law, which is expected to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, comes with a $10,000 per day fine for any app store or “entity” that offers the ability” to access the social media platform or download the app.
Users, however, will not face fines.
In addition to the TikTok ban, Gianforte also announced a ban on all social media applications tied to foreign adversaries on state equipment. Some applications that were mentioned were WeChat which has headquarters in China and Telegram Messenger, which is headquartered in Russia.