Montana Becomes the First U.S. State to Completely Ban TikTok
The Chinese short-video app TikTok will be banned in the U.S. state of Montana due to security concerns. Governor Gianforte stated that the ban would protect the citizens of Montana “from surveillance by the Communist Party of China.”
Montana Governor Signs Law Banning TikTok
The governor of Montana has signed a law that completely prohibits the video-sharing platform TikTok. The legislation easily passed through the Republican-controlled Congress.
It is expected that the decision will face legal challenges, as it goes beyond the regulations in place in other states. Critics argue that the right to free speech is endangered. Any legal disputes would serve as a test case for a TikTok-free country, a goal pursued by many federal lawmakers. A complete ban on the social media app is not enforced anywhere else in the United States.
Penalties for Platforms up to $10,000 Per Day
When Montana initially banned the use of TikTok on government devices in December, Republican Governor Greg Gianforte cited “significant risks” regarding sensitive data. Similar bans already exist in about half of the U.S. states and at the federal level.
Some lawmakers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and representatives from other agencies are concerned that the video-sharing platform, owned by the Chinese company ByteDance, could be misused to provide the Chinese government with access to American citizens’ data or to spread disinformation in the interest of Beijing, thus influencing public opinion. TikTok has stated that such incidents have never occurred.
The new regulation prohibits app stores from offering the TikTok application starting from January 1, 2024, and TikTok will no longer be able to operate as a company in the northwestern state. Any entity, such as an app store or TikTok itself, that enables people in Montana to violate the ban or otherwise gain access to the platform may be subject to a daily penalty of $10,000. However, users themselves will not be penalized. Those who already have the app on their devices will not be affected.