Montana becomes first state to ban TikTok

by sam

Samuel Case, FISM News

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill on Wednesday banning Chinese-owned TikTok within the state, becoming the first state to ban the video app.

“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” the Republican governor said in a press release. “Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.”

The federal government and several states have banned TikTok on government devices, citing security concerns, but Montana’s law is the first statewide ban.

Starting Jan. 1, 2024, it will be illegal for Google and Apple’s app stores to offer TikTok in the state. TikTok, Apple, and Google could be fined $10,000 per violation, per day. Individuals who download TikTok do not face any penalties. 

The same day Gianforte “directed the state’s chief information officer and executive agency directors to prohibit the use of all social media applications tied to foreign adversaries on state equipment and for state business in Montana.” 

TikTok issued a statement saying the law “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok,” and said it will “continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.”

A former executive for TikTok’s parent company Bytedance recently accused the app of being a “propaganda tool” for the Chinese Communist Party that gives China access to U.S. data.

TikTok has repeatedly denied that the Chinese government has access to user data.