Montana becomes first state to ban TikTok after governor signs bill into law
Montana became the first US state to officially ban TikTok after Gov. Greg Gianforte has signed into law a bill that restricts the downloads of this popular social media application.
The law, passed last month by the legislature, prohibits app stores from allowing users to download TikTok, and it is illegal for the company, to operate in the state.
Gianforte, however, praised the privacy protections of the law.
In a press release, Gianforte stated that the Chinese Communist Party had used TikTok in order to spy on Americans and violate their privacy. They also collected their sensitive, personal and private information.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok, called the bill unconstitutional. She said that the app empowers “hundreds of thousands” of people in the state.
Oberwetter stated, “We want Montanans to know that they can use TikTok as a way to express themselves, make a living and build community, while we continue to work to defend the rights our users within and outside Montana.”
Oberwetter stated that when the bill was passed last month its “champions admitted they had no feasible plan to operationalize this attempt at censoring American voices.”
A ban is violated every time an app is made available to a user. A $10,000 fine could be imposed for each violation. The Montana Justice Department would handle enforcement.
Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, told Congress that 150,000,000 people in the U.S. regularly use the app. Its popularity has been exploding in recent years.
Montana was the first state in the nation to prohibit the download and use of the app by all residents within its borders. However, federal and state-by-state restrictions have been imposed on government devices and networks.
The President Joe Biden issued a ban on TikTok last year, which prohibited the nearly 4 million federal employees from using it on their agency-owned devices.