On Wednesday, Montana governor Greg Gianforte signed a first-of-its-kind bill making it unlawful for TikTok to function in the state, laying the stage for a possible legal war with the company amid numerous uncertainties over whether the state can even enforce the rule.
The federal government and more US state ban TikTok on government-issued smartphones. But Montana’s new laws will have a much wider reach. There are 200,000 TikTok users in Montana, and 6,000 businesses using the app, said a company spokesman named Jamal Brown.
Exactly What Is It About Tiktok That Has Caused Montana to Prohibit It?
Supporters of the Montana law argue that Beijing may use TikTok to spread propaganda in favor of the Chinese government. By harvesting user data from the service.
This is consistent with the claims made by a number of senators from both political parties, as well as the directors of the FBI and the CIA, who have all warned that ByteDance, the business that owns TikTok and is headquartered in Beijing, poses a threat to national security.
What Is the Exact Plan to Ban Tiktok?
For every day that TikTok remains on app stores, the state plans to fine tech giants like Apple and Google $10,000.
According to a copy of the law posted on the state’s website, it is a violation. Whenever a user accesses TikTok, TikTok offers them the ability to access or download the app.
However, users will not be punished.
The Montana restriction would become null if a corporation not based in “any country designated as a foreign adversary” by the US government were to acquire TikTok.
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In What Ways Has TikTok Reacted?
Representative for the social media site Brooke Oberwetter claimed the law violates users’ right to free speech.
According to a statement released by TikTok, “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,” said Oberwetter.
Despite widespread speculation that TikTok will go to court over the issue, Oberwetter would not confirm or deny whether the company planned to do so.
Previously, TikTok had claimed that Beijing was not meddling in the company’s business.
The US government has been trying to restrict TikTok since at least 2020. The courts thwarted former President Donald Trump’s attempt to halt the company’s operations in the country.
Some US states, such as Utah and Arkansas, have passed legislation that requires parental permission for minors’ social media use.
What’s Next US State to Ban TikTok?
This could end up in court.
The Attorney General of Montana, Knudsen, has already expressed his belief that opponents would challenge this bill in court.
In a prepared statement released Wednesday, a spokesman for TikTok, Brooke Oberwetter, stated that the law violates the constitutional rights to free speech and expression of Montana residents.
Oberwetter did not confirm or deny if the corporation would file action. But he did detail some of the potential legal issues. She claimed the state of Montana is trying to veto U.S. foreign policy by passing this legislation on the pretense that it tackles a threat to national security. She argued that states do not have the authority to legislate on matters of national security and foreign policy.
TikTok and other tech companies are represented by lobbying group NetChoice. That claims the bill violates the First Amendment and “bill of attainder” laws. It forbid the government from punishing a specific entity without a trial.