Judge Blocks State's TikTok Ban

Montana can appeal decision on law, which was to go into effect on Jan. 1
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 22, 2023 5:50 PM CDT
Updated Nov 30, 2023 6:30 PM CST
TikTok Sues Montana
In this photo provided by the Montana Governor's Office, Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signs a law banning TikTok in the state, May 17, 2023.   (Garrett Turner/Montana Governor's Office via AP, File)
UPDATE Nov 30, 2023 6:30 PM CST

A federal judge put a halt to Montana's attempt to outlaw TikTok in the state on Thursday, saying the legislation goes beyond an effort to protect consumers. The law, which has not yet taken effect, was designed to target "China's ostensible role in TikTok," US District Judge Donald Molloy wrote in issuing a preliminary injunction. Montana's ban "oversteps state power and infringes on the Constitutional right of users and businesses," he added, per the AP. The state can appeal the decision, the Washington Post reports.

May 22, 2023 5:50 PM CDT

TikTok is taking Montana to court over the state's first-in-the-nation ban complete ban of the app, which was due to take effect Jan. 1 but could now be delayed. In a complaint filed Monday in US District Court for the District of Montana, TikTok said the ban violated First Amendment protections, Politico reports. "We are challenging Montana's unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana," the complaint stated. "We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts."

The complaint seeks an order "invalidating and preliminarily and permanently enjoining" Montana from enforcing the ban, per NBC. TikTok has a Chinese parent company, and Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte says the ban on the app will "protect Montanans' private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party," the Washington Post reports. In the lawsuit, TikTok said the "extraordinary and unprecedented measures" against the company are "based on nothing more than unfounded speculation." The state is also being sued by several Montana-based content creators who filed a lawsuit hours after Gianforte signed the law. (More TikTok stories.)

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