Montana Governor Greg Gianforte made history on May 17, signing legislation to ban Tiktok from his home state of Montana – the first US state to do so, after months of discussion. Why? The Governor wants to protect his citizens from “Chinese Communist Party surveillance.”
The legislation Gianforte signed not only goes after TikTok tracking is a major issue we chronicled for the past few years but the bill won’t target just that. According to the new legislation, Montana prohibits “all social media applications that collect and provide personal information or data to foreign adversaries on government-issued devices.”
From a Reuters report:
“Montana will make it unlawful for Google and Apple’s app stores to offer the TikTok app within its borders. The ban takes effect Jan. 1, 2024. TikTok, which has over 150 million American users, is facing growing calls from U.S. lawmakers and state officials to ban the app nationwide over concerns about potential Chinese government influence over the platform. Gov. Gianforte, a Republican, said the bill will further “our shared priority to protect Montanans from Chinese Communist Party surveillance.”
Montana, which has a population of just over 1 million people, said TikTok could face fines for each violation and additional fines of $10,000 per day if they violate the ban. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2024. The ban will likely face numerous legal challenges that it violates the First Amendment free speech rights of users. An attempt by then President Donald Trump to ban new downloads of TikTok and WeChat through a Commerce Department order in 2020 was blocked by multiple courts and never took effect.”
For their part, TikTok’s mother company ByteDance had issued a statement saying that the new law “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok,” and that they will fight it.