Montana Becomes First State to Ban TikTok on Personal Devices
Montana has become the first state in the US to completely ban the popular app TikTok, with Republican Governor Greg Gianforte signing the bill into law on Wednesday. The ban, which takes effect on January 1, 2024, extends beyond government devices to personal devices and prohibits app companies like Apple and Google from offering TikTok for download. The law states that “TikTok may not operate within the territorial jurisdiction of Montana.” It also imposes fines of $10,000 for every day TikTok is available to Montanans, with additional fines of $10,000 per day if the ban is violated. The legislation has been met with criticism from advocates of free speech who see it as a violation of the First Amendment. TikTok has also pushed back against the ban, stating that it infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana.
The ban comes amid growing concerns in the US about TikTok's ties to China. The app is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and US authorities fear that the Chinese government may have access to TikTok user data belonging to US citizens. Some also believe that the Chinese authorities can influence the app's algorithm to serve up pro-China content. TikTok has strongly denied such accusations and has invested more than $1 billion into Project Texas to address data security concerns raised by US regulators.
Governor Gianforte cited national security concerns as the reason for the ban. He stated that “the Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented.” Montana's ban also includes other social media apps from TikTok's owner ByteDance, including CapCut and Lemon8, as well as social media apps from Russia's Telegram messenger and China's Pinduoduo's Temu. The law will face legal challenges on constitutional questions of free speech and restrictions on statutes that single out one company.
The ban on TikTok is not the first time that the app has faced restrictions in the US. The federal government and state agencies in Montana had already banned TikTok on government devices, and more than half of US states have instituted legislation banning the app on government-owned devices. The Biden administration has also threatened a national ban unless TikTok's parent company sells its shares. However, previous attempts by former President Donald Trump to ban new downloads of TikTok and WeChat in 2020 through a Commerce Department order were blocked by multiple courts and never took effect.
0. “Montana Becomes First State to Ban TikTok” Vulture, 18 May. 2023, https://www.vulture.com/2023/05/montana-tiktok-ban-explained.html
1. “Montana governor signs into law first-of-its-kind TikTok ban” Al Jazeera English, 18 May. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/5/18/montana-governor-signs-into-law-first-of-its-kind-tiktok-ban
2. “TikTok: Montana to become first US state to ban app on personal devices” BBC, 18 May. 2023, https://www.bbc.com/news/business-65630201
3. “Montana governor bans TikTok” CNN, 18 May. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/05/17/tech/montana-governor-tiktok/index.html
4. “TikTok faces outright ban in first U.S. state” Digital Trends, 18 May. 2023, https://www.digitaltrends.com/social-media/tiktok-faces-outright-ban-in-first-us-state/
5. “Montana's governor signs bill banning TikTok” Engadget, 17 May. 2023, https://www.engadget.com/montanas-governor-signs-bill-banning-tiktok-225326086.html
6. “Montana becomes the first state to ban TikTok” KTVH, 17 May. 2023, https://www.ktvh.com/news/montana-becomes-the-first-state-to-ban-tiktok
7. “Montana becomes first state to enact blanket TikTok ban, drawing First Amendment howls” New York Daily News, 18 May. 2023, https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/ny-montana-first-tiktok-ban-first-amendment-violation-20230518-glbntfadq5bifbsyrhk4w5hm3i-story.html
8. “Montana becomes first US state to ban TikTok” The Guardian US, 17 May. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/may/17/tiktok-ban-montana
9. “Montana Governor Greg Gianforte bans TikTok across the state” Daily Mail, 18 May. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12096831/Montana-Governor-Greg-Gianforte-bans-TikTok-state.html