Montana Passes Bill Banning TikTok, Which Vows to Continue to Fight for First Amendment Rights

Montana would become the first state in America to fully ban TikTok starting in 2024, after the state’s legislature on Friday passed a bill banning the short-form app. The bill now goes to the desk of Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte before it becomes law.

Under the Montana legislation, TikTok would face fines if it continued to operate in the state. In addition, the state could impose penalties on Apple and Google if they allowed users in Montana to download the app.

TikTok blasted the passage of the bill as an attempt to “censor American voices.”

“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,” TikTok said in a statement. “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.”

The Biden administration has threatened to enact a nationwide ban on TikTok unless ByteDance sells its ownership stake in the app. Analysts said the chances of an American ban on the app increased after CEO Shou Zi Chew’s appearance before House hearing, given deep skepticism from lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike — about his answers about China’s influence over TikTok and the communist regime’s ability to track user data via the app, as well as TikTok’s efforts to curb misinformation and harmful content. China’s commerce ministry had said said it was “firmly opposed” to a forced sale of TikTok and that any such transaction would be subject to Chinese government approval.

A survey released last month by Pew Research Center found that 50% of American adults favor a U.S. government ban of TikTok, which claims to have more than 150 million U.S. monthly users. The survey of American adults, conducted between March 20-26, found that among people who actually use TikTok just 19% support a ban.

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