State OKs Total TikTok Ban

ACLU calls Montana law unconstitutional
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2023 5:00 AM CDT
Updated May 17, 2023 7:05 PM CDT
This Could Be the First US State to Ban TikTok
FILE - A view of the TikTok app logo, in Tokyo, Sept. 28, 2020.Britain’s privacy watchdog has hit TikTok with a multimillion-dollar penalty for a slew of data protection breaches including misusing children’s data.   (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato, File)
UPDATE May 17, 2023 7:05 PM CDT

The nation's first complete ban on TikTok has been approved in Montana. Gov. Greg Gianforte, a Republican, signed the legislation on Wednesday, possibly kicking off a court battle that could not only decide whether Montana's law ever takes effect, but also the future of similar federal legislation, the Wall Street Journal reports. A TikTok spokeswoman immediately called the ban an illegal curb on free speech, and the ACLU called it unconstitutional. It's not clear how the law would be enforced. The bill's sponsor said that burden would be on TikTok.

Apr 15, 2023 5:00 AM CDT

Montana could soon be the first US state with an absolute ban on TikTok. The state's GOP-controlled legislature on Friday approved a bill that would completely prohibit the app from operating in Montana. Gov. Greg Gianforte, also a Republican, must still sign the bill. He hasn't said whether he will, but in a statement regarding the TikTok bill, a spokesperson says he will "carefully consider" anything the legislature sends him, the Hill reports.

He has already banned the app on state-owned devices, and that move was about as far as any US state has gone with regard to TikTok at this point. Montana's proposed legislation "goes much further," the Washington Post reports. It would fine any "entity"—which the AP defines as an app store or TikTok—that breaks the law $10,000 per violation per day, but users of the app would not be penalized. The bill would also bar downloads of the app in the state, and would take effect on January 1.

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It says TikTok's ownership by a Chinese company is a security concern given China's adversarial relationship with the US and TikTok's "significant" amount of data-gathering on users, but that if the app is sold to a company not based in a country that is an adversary of the US, the Montana law would become void. A spokesperson for TikTok, which has maintained it is independent from China's government, says the bill is an "attempt to censor American voices" and that the company "will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach." (More TikTok stories.)

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