Montana Takes the Lead in Banning TikTok

The State of Montana has become the first in the United States to pass a bill banning the popular short-video platform, TikTok.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Montana Takes the Lead in Banning TikTok

The State of Montana has become the first in the United States to pass a bill banning the popular short-video platform, TikTok. Although the bill, known as SB 419, has been passed with 54 votes in favor and 43 against, it still requires the signature of the state's Republican governor before it can come into effect.

SB 419: A Controversial Move

The bill orders mobile app stores, such as Apple and Google, to stop distributing TikTok from January 1st, 2024. The bill also prohibits the app from being used on personal devices within the state and imposes a $10,000 fee for each violation of the ban, with an additional $10,000 for each day the violation continues.

Many Democratic and Republican representatives in the US Congress have expressed concern that the platform, which is visited by 150 million Americans, allows the Chinese government to spy on and manipulate users. Senator Shelley Vance, one of the primary sponsors of SB 419, stated in February, "We now know 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."

TikTok's Response

TikTok has repeatedly denied allegations of espionage for China and has expressed its intention to challenge SB 419 in court.

Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok, stated, "The bill's champions have admitted that they have no feasible plan for operationalizing this attempt to censor American voices and that the bill's constitutionality will be decided by the courts." She added, "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." Montana's decision to ban TikTok is a controversial move that has garnered a mixed response.

While some support the state's efforts to protect its citizens' privacy and security, others view the ban as an attempt to censor American voices and a threat to the First Amendment rights of TikTok users. The outcome of the ban remains to be seen and will likely be decided in the courts.

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