Montana has become the first American state to pass legislation banning TikTok. The bill was delivered to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte on Friday, April 14, 2023 by the GOP-controlled Montana House of Representatives, who can now sign it into law.
Montana lawmakers then gave final approval to legislation prohibiting the social media app from operating in the state. This move will almost certainly face legal challenges but will also act as a test run for the TikTok-free America envisioned by several national leaders.
Montana took this drastic step because of the concerns that the app is associated with the Chinese government. Moreover, the officials feared that the latter might be using the app to spy on America.
Montana, like many parts of the world, decides to ban TikTok
The social media platform, which is owned by the Chinese internet firm ByteDance, has come under fire due to the fear that it may be handing over user data to the Chinese government. People are speculating that it might even spread pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation on the network.
The law to ban TikTok, dubbed SB 419, was approved by a vote of 54 to 43. It raises a number of issues regarding the platform. Further, it refers to the app’s encouragement of “dangerous activities,” such as “throwing objects at moving automobiles” or “lighting a mirror on fire and then attempting to extinguish it using only one’s body parts.” This entire legal issue created a huge controversy.
This law prohibits TikTok from operating within state lines. Furthermore, it also prohibits app shops from promoting the app for downloads, which makes it illegal to download it in the state. If done so, they will be fined of up to $10,000 per day imposed on any company that makes the popular video-streaming program available. This includes Google Play Store, Apple App Store, or TikTok itself. Moreover, the law also makes it illegal for app retailers to sell it. It does not, however, stop existing consumers from using it.
TikTok Set to Be Banned In Montana, Which Would Be First State to Take Action https://t.co/ezWSOWeaaA
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) April 14, 2023
This measure represents the most strenuous effort yet by a state government to restrict TikTok. Furthermore, some federal MPs have advocated for a countrywide ban on the popular service.
TikTok intimated in a statement that it would take legal action to counter the bill. The company is anticipated to file a federal court challenge regarding this law. This will further set up a legal squabble that might end up in front of the United States Supreme Court.
“The bill’s champions have admitted that they have no feasible plan for operationalizing this attempt to censor American voices and that the bill’s constitutionality will be decided by the courts,” said Brooke Oberwetter, TikTok spokesperson. “We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach,” she added.
On the other hand, Brooke Stroyke, Gianforte’s spokesperson stated, “The governor will carefully consider any bill that the legislature sends to his desk.” Gianforte banned TikTok on state government devices in December. It, furthermore, asked the Montana University System to do the same the following month, which it did.
If passed, the ban in the state would not go into effect until January 2024.
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