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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Montana becomes first US state to ban TikTok | World News


Montana on Wednesday became the first U.S. state to ban TikTok, a law set to take effect next year, as debate escalates over the impact and safety of the popular video app.

The icon for the video-sharing TikTok app is seen on a smartphone. (Associated Press)

The ban, which Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law, will serve as a legal test of a nationwide ban on Chinese-owned platforms, something lawmakers in Washington are increasingly calling for.

“TikTok may not operate within the territorial jurisdiction of the state of Montana,” said a copy of the newly enacted law on the state’s website.

The ban constitutes a violation every time “a user accesses TikTok, is provided the ability to access TikTok, or is provided the ability to download TikTok.”

Each violation will result in a fine of $10,000 per day.

Under the law, Apple and Google would have to remove TikTok from their app stores, and the companies would face possible daily fines.

The move will almost certainly be challenged by lawsuits.

ACLU Montana policy director Keegan Medrano said state political leaders “trampled the free speech of hundreds of thousands of Montanans who used the app to express themselves, gather information and run their small businesses in the name of anti-Chinese sentiment.” “.

The law stipulates that the ban will take effect in 2024, but if TikTok is acquired by a company incorporated in a country not designated by the United States as a foreign opponent, the ban will expire.

“Governor Gianfort signed a bill illegally banning TikTok in violation of the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana,” a company spokesman told AFP.

“We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue to use TikTok to express themselves, make a living, and find community as we continue to work hard to defend the rights of users in and around Montana.”

TikTok has publicly stated that the constitutionality of the ban will ultimately be determined by the courts.

The law is the latest clash between TikTok and many Western governments, with the app already banned on government devices in the United States, Canada and various countries in Europe.

The app is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and has been widely accused by U.S. politicians of being in the custody of the Chinese government and a spying tool for Beijing, which the company vehemently denies.

Gianfort himself said on Twitter that he signed the ban to “protect the personal and private data of Montanans from the Chinese Communist Party.”

Despite its popularity, TikTok faces an ultimatum from the White House to part ways with its Chinese owners or cease operating in the United States.

Montana’s crackdown on TikTok comes as the app faces proposed state legislation — one of which could give the White House a raft of new powers to oversee Chinese tech companies.


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