TikTok Takes Montana to Court Over Law Banning The App

TikTok, montana

This article was last updated on May 23, 2023

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The App Argues that the Law Curbs Freedom of Expression

TikTok, the social media app owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, has filed a federal lawsuit against Montana for passing a law banning the app. The law, set to go into effect on 1 January 2024, imposes daily fines of up to $10,000 on an app store or TikTok itself if Montana residents download or use the app. TikTok argues that this ban is an illegal suppression of freedom of expression, which amounts to censorship, as protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Additionally, TikTok argues that the national security threat that TikTok would pose, according to Montana, is not something that the state can attempt to regulate, as foreign affairs and national security issues are a federal matter.

TikTok’s Ties to China

Fears of ByteDance’s collection of user data or promotion of Chinese propaganda have prompted concerns over TikTok, which has led to a number of governments including the US, India and Australia to take steps against the app. Amid concerns of TikTok’s security implications, governments have focused on potential ties it may have to the Chinese government. Any company based in China is required under the country’s national intelligence laws to provide data to the government upon request. So, any personal information about TikTok’s customers is susceptible to being handed over to the Chinese government without their knowledge or consent. However, ByteDance has denied such reports and claims it has never received such requests.

Montana Faces Second Lawsuit

Five individual TikTok users who use the app to grow their business, connect with military veterans or create humorous content also got together to challenge the Montana law. These content creators earn a significant amount of money by engaging with the app, and a ban would greatly affect their livelihood.

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