Montana has made history by becoming the first state to officially ban TikTok, following the signing of a bill by Governor Greg Gianforte. The legislation, passed in April, prohibits app stores from offering TikTok for download and makes it illegal for the company to operate within the state. While the law may face legal challenges for potentially infringing on free speech, proponents of the bill emphasize its focus on privacy protection.
Restricting Downloads and Operation
Under the new law, app stores are prohibited from providing users with the option to download TikTok. Additionally, the legislation renders the company’s operations within the state illegal. Governor Gianforte praised the bill for its measures to safeguard privacy, citing concerns over the Chinese Communist Party’s use of TikTok to collect sensitive information from American users.
TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter condemned the bill, deeming it “unlawful” in a statement. Oberwetter highlighted that TikTok serves as a platform empowering hundreds of thousands of individuals across Montana. She reassured users that they can continue expressing themselves, finding community, and earning a living on TikTok while emphasizing the company’s commitment to defending user rights.
Penalties and Enforcement
Violations of the ban include any instance in which users are provided with the opportunity to download the TikTok app. Each violation carries a potential penalty of $10,000. The Montana Department of Justice will be responsible for enforcing the ban and overseeing its implementation.
Impact and Previous Bans
TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, testified before Congress in March, stating that the app has approximately 150 million regular users in the United States. While Montana is the first state to enact a comprehensive ban on downloads and usage for all residents, limited bans have been imposed at the federal and state levels, specifically targeting government-owned devices and networks. Last year, President Joe Biden signed a ban prohibiting the use of TikTok on devices owned by federal agencies and used by the government’s nearly 4 million employees.
Q: Can Montana residents still access TikTok?
A: The new law in Montana bans the download and usage of TikTok within the state. However, legal challenges may arise, and TikTok continues to affirm that users in Montana can express themselves and use the app while the company defends their rights.
Q: What are the penalties for violating the ban?
A: Each violation of the ban, which includes offering the ability to download the TikTok app, can result in a $10,000 penalty.
Q: Has TikTok faced bans in other places?
A: While Montana is the first state to impose a comprehensive ban on TikTok for all residents, limited bans have been implemented on federal and state levels. These restrictions target government-owned devices and networks.
Q: What was the reason behind Montana’s ban on TikTok?
A: Governor Greg Gianforte cited concerns about the Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on and collect private information from American users as the primary motivation behind the legislation