TikTok is eating up Montana after US states passed a law banning the video-sharing app on personal devices.
Tik Tok The lawsuit, filed Monday, said the ban was an “unconstitutional” violation of free speech and based on “unfounded speculation” that the Chinese government had access to user data.
Montana becomes America’s first state Ban Chinese-owned apps signed the bill into law last week.
The legislation makes it illegal for app stores to offer TikTok, but doesn’t prevent people who already own the app from using it. It will come into effect on January 1, 2024.
The state faces questions about how to enforce the ban, and legal challenges are expected.
According to TikTok spokesman Jamal Brown, 200,000 TikTok users and 6,000 businesses in Montana use the platform.
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TikTok’s lawsuit says the ban violates “federal right of first refusal,” meaning national security and foreign affairs are handled by the federal government rather than the states.
TikTok, owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance, has been under intense scrutiny over concerns it could hand over user data to the Chinese government or promote pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation on the platform.
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The company said it was never asked to hand over its data, and would not do so if asked.
The lawsuit follows five content creators who also sued the state, claiming the ban seeks to suppress speech and “exercise national security powers that Montana does not have.”