Montana has become the first state in the United States to impose a ban on the popular social media app TikTok. The state’s governor signed a legislation that forbids mobile application stores from providing access to the app within Montana starting from next year.
This action is part of a series of measures taken by the US against TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese technology company ByteDance. Concerns have been raised about TikTok’s connections to China, amid fears that these ties could pose a threat to national security.
The federal government, along with over half of US states, has already prohibited the use of the app on government devices. Furthermore, the Biden administration has issued a warning of a potential nationwide ban unless TikTok’s parent company divests its shares.
TikTok has previously denied allegations of sharing user data with the Chinese government, asserting that it would refuse such requests. In response to the Montana bill, the company released a statement claiming that it infringes upon the First Amendment rights of Montana residents by unlawfully banning TikTok. They also expressed their intention to protect the rights of their users both within and outside the state.
During a congressional hearing in March, TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, was compelled to defend the company’s relationship with China. Lawmakers raised concerns about the app’s impact on the mental health of young people.
TikTok boasts a user base of over 100 million in the United States, making it one of the most popular social networks globally. There are lingering questions regarding the enforcement and repercussions of such bans, particularly for creators who rely on the platform.
Effective from January 1, Montana’s new law prohibits the downloading of TikTok within the state. It imposes a daily fine of $10,000 on any entity, whether it be an app store or TikTok itself, for every instance in which someone is provided the opportunity to access the app or download it. The penalties, however, do not apply to users.
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