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Montana Is the First State in The US To Pass a Bill Banning TikTok Across the State

Montana has become the first state to pass a bill banning TikTok due to concerns that the Chinese government could request data from the wildly popular video-streaming app. The bill was sent to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte on Friday by the GOP-controlled Montana House of Representatives, who can now sign it into law.

What will the bill achieve?

The bill makes downloading TikTok in the state illegal, with fines of up to $10,000 per day imposed on any entity that makes the popular video-streaming app available, such as Apple and Google’s app stores or TikTok itself. If passed, the ban in the state would not go into effect until January 2024.

TikTok response

TikTok is expected to file a federal court challenge before then, setting up a legal squabble that supporters of the Montana law say could end up in front of the United States Supreme Court. According to Brooke Oberwetter, a TikTok spokesperson, the bill’s supporters have admitted that there is “no feasible plan” for implementing the TikTok ban, because blocking app downloads in any single state would be nearly impossible to enforce. According to Oberwetter, the bill censors Montanans’ voices.

“We will continue to fight for Montana TikTok users and creators whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are being jeopardized by this egregious government overreach,” Oberwetter said.

American Civil Liberties Union reaction to the bill

The ACLU has also criticized the bill, calling it a violation of free speech rights that “would set an alarming precedent for excessive government control over how Montanans use the internet.” However, supporters point to a 2017 Chinese intelligence law that requires private companies to hand over customer data to the government if Beijing ever requests it. This is despite TikTok’s protests that such a request would never be granted.

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However, the bill states that if TikTok is sold to a company not based in an adversarial country, the ban will be lifted. A law passed by Congress that would result in TikTok being banned nationwide would render the measure null and void.

The aggressive TikTok crackdown in Montana comes as the Biden administration continues negotiating with the company about its future in the United States. Last month, White House officials warned TikTok that it must divest from its Beijing-based corporate parent company, ByteDance, or face a nationwide shutdown.

TikTok is also on the radar of Congress. A bipartisan bill would give the Department of Commerce the authority to ban apps controlled by “foreign adversaries,” a label that could apply to TikTok.

Why TikTok is getting banned?

TikTok is viewed as a potential national security threat by lawmakers in states such as Montana and Washington, D.C. Because ByteDance owns TikTok, there is concern that the Chinese Communist Party may request access to the 150 million TikTok accounts in the United States to spy on Americans or use personal data to mount disinformation campaigns on the app.

Though concerns have grown in recent months, there is no publicly available evidence that Chinese officials have attempted to access TikTok’s data. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew faced tough questions from lawmakers in Washington last month as he attempted to allay bipartisan concerns about the social media app. Most lawmakers said Chew’s testimony, which was evasive on questions about China at times, was unconvincing and only served to harden their opposition to TikTok.

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Trump wanted to ban TikTok too

Over the same national security concerns, the Trump administration also attempted to put TikTok out of business in the United States. However, the move was halted by federal courts, citing executive overreach and a lack of evidence to support the case that TikTok poses a security risk.


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Sarah M

Sarah M


Sarah is the founder, owner, editor, and writer at Social Media Notes. She also does SEO, SMM, and is the SEO consultant for various companies. We hope that reading the blog posts on Social Media Notes would bring you more knowledge, and insight. Welcome to Social Media Notes!

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