TikTok sues Montana after US State passed a new law banning the app
On May 17, 2023, Montana's governor Greg Gianforte took to Twitter to announce that he had banned TikTok in the state to protect its resident’s personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party. Now, TikTok has responded by suing the state.
According to complaints filed in Montana District Court, TikTok has said that the ban violates the first amendment of the US Constitution and other federal laws. The company also said that the claims that the Chinese government could access TikTok users’ data are unfounded.
“This unprecedented and extreme step of banning a major platform for First Amendment speech, based on unfounded speculation about potential foreign government access to user data and the content of the speech, is flatly inconsistent with the constitution,” TikTok said in the complaint.
Governor Gianforte signed the bill last week that would force TikTok or app stores to pay $10,000 per day for making the app available to personal devices in the state starting on January 1, 2024.
“We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana. We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said in a statement.
The Chinese foreign ministry has termed the move as an abuse of state power stating that there is no evidence present to prove that TikTok poses a threat to the national security of the US.
However, according to Emily Flower, a spokesperson for Montana’s Attorney General the state is ready to fight TikTok to ensure that state laws protecting the privacy and security of citizens are upheld.
There have been growing concerns over TikTok’s ownership over the past few months with various governments including the US and the UK banning the use of the app on government devices. Governments fear that ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company could be used by the Chinese government to spy on the US owing to the app’s huge popularity in the country.
A group of TikTok creators also sued Montana last week over the state’s ban, saying it violates their First Amendment rights.