Montana Governor Bans TikTok | CNN Business
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill Wednesday banning TikTok in the state.
Gianforte he tweeted that has banned TikTok in Montana “to protect the personal and private data of Montanans from the Chinese Communist Party,” officially becoming the first state to ban the social media app.
The controversial law marks the furthest step by a state government to restrict TikTok over perceived security concerns and comes as some federal lawmakers have called for a nationwide ban on TikTok. But it is expected to be challenged in court.
The bill, which will take effect in January, specifically names TikTok as its target, banning the app from operating across state lines. The law also outlines potential fines of $10,000 a day for violators, including app stores that host the social media app.
Last month, lawmakers in the Montana House of Representatives voted 54-43 to approve the bill, known as SB419, sending it to Gianforte’s desk.
In a statement to CNN, TikTok said it would push to defend users’ rights in Montana.
“Governor Gianforte has signed 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. We want to assure Montanans that they can continue to use TikTok to express yourself, make a living, and find community as we continue to work to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.
The law comes as TikTok faces growing criticism over its ties to China. TikTok is owned by China-based ByteDance. Many US officials have expressed fears that the Chinese government could access US data through TikTok for espionage purposes, although so far there is no evidence that the Chinese government has ever accessed personal information of TikTok users in the United States.
NetChoice, a technology trade group that includes TikTok as a member, called the Montana bill unconstitutional.
“The government may not block our ability to access constitutionally protected speech, whether in a newspaper, on a website, or through an app. By implementing this law, Montana is ignoring the US Constitution, due process and freedom of expression by denying access to a website and applications that its citizens want to use,” said Carl Szabo, general counsel of NetChoice.
The ACLU also rejected the bill, releasing a statement saying that “with this ban, Governor Gianforte and the Montana Legislature have trampled on the free speech rights of hundreds of thousands of Montanans who use the app to express themselves, gather information and run their small business in the name of anti-Chinese sentiment.”
On Wednesday, Gianforte signed an additional bill that bans the use of any social media apps “linked to foreign adversaries” on government devices, including ByteDance-owned CapCut and Lemon8, and Telegram Messenger, which was founded in Russia