On April 14, Montana became the first state legislature to approve a complete ban of the social media video streaming app TikTok on practically all devices operating in the state. The move may kick off a wave of other bans across the country.
Bill SB 419 was voted on in the state’s House of Representatives and passed by a margin of 54-43 on the afternoon of April 14. It will become law after Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signs it and, once signed, the ban will come into effect in January 2024.
The bill however stipulates that if Congress implements its own national ban or if TikTok divests its U.S. business from Chinese ownership it will become void.
The bill prohibits TikTok from operating “within the territorial jurisdiction of Montana,” and if app stores violate the law, Montana’s Department of Justice could penalize the stores upwards of $10,000 per day for every day the app remains available within Montana’s jurisdiction.
Users of the app do not face any legal repercussions.
- RESTRICT Act: TikTok Ban or American ‘Great Firewall?’
- Communist China-controlled TikTok Encourages Suicide, Helps Kids Buy Drugs
- TikTok CEO Denies It Ever Shared User Data With the Chinese Regime
You are now signed up for our newsletter
Check your email to complete sign up
According to KTVH, Sen. Shelley Vance, one of the author’s of the bill said, “TikTok endangers the safety of Montanans and Americans at large. We know that beyond a doubt that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is operating as a surveillance arm of the Chinese Communist Party and gathers information about Americans against their will.”
Numerous countries have banned the app on government devices including, but not limited to, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, the European Union, France and India.
Gizmodo is reporting that a TikTok spokesperson said the bill “amounted to censorship and would almost certainly be challenged by courts.”
“We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach,” the spokesperson told Gizmodo.
The ACLU has come out saying that a ban violates America’s First Amendment and sent a letter to lawmakers this week stating, ““Montana’s TikTok bill is censorship, plain and simple. Montanans deserve better than to have their representatives violate their free speech rights by cutting them off from a unique platform that allows them to speak their minds, exchange information, and learn new things.”