After Montana Bans Chinese-Owned TikTok, The Company And Users Aren't Letting The Addictive App Go Down Quietly

Montana has made a major move against the Chinese-owned social media app ‘Tiktok,’ banning it from being downloaded within the state. However, the move has already faced major backlash from both users of the app as well as the company itself, attempting to claim the ban violates the First Amendment rights of American citizens.

Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT) made the major announcement on Wednesday, taking to Twitter to share the news. In his tweet, he wrote, “To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana.”

The bill passed, Senate Bill 419, bans ‘TikTok’ from operating anywhere within the state's border, and was passed by a margin of 54-43 in the Montana House, per KTVH. The legislation will begin taking effect on New Year's Day of 2024. 

“After years of investigative reporting we now know this to be true, TikTok endangers the safety of Montanans and Americans at large,” said Senator Shelley Vance (R), the primary sponsor of the bill. “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.”

The bill was quick to draw major attention, both from users of the app in Montana as well as the company itself. On the same day as the passing of the legislation, five users filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Montana, naming the defendant as Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, per Reuters. A spokeswoman for Knudsen, Emily Flower, stated that they had expected a lawsuit and “are fully prepared to defend the law.”

The five unnamed users argue that the state is attempting to “exercise powers over national security that Montana does not have and to ban speech Montana may not suppress.” The primary argument in the suit is the belief that the ban works to limit the citizens of Montana’s free speech right guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. 

"Montana can no more ban its residents from viewing or posting to TikTok than it could ban the Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes," the lawsuit claims.

TikTok users aren’t the only ones finding the ban to be a breach of First Amendment rights, with TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwette stating that the law “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Montana and NetChoice have both also stated their opinion on the law is unconstitutional, as noted in Fox Business.

The ban presents a major challenge to the Chinese-owned social media platform, which has drawn the criticism of politicians on both sides of the aisle. The concern of data being collected and gifted to the Chinese Communist Party is extremely justified, and without the ability to properly monitor the activities of the company, banning may simply be the safest measure for Americans. 

  • Article Source: DC Enquirer
  • Photo: Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images / Getty Images
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