The state of Montana has made history by becoming the first in the US to ban TikTok. Starting January 2024, the app will be unavailable on the Apple and Google app stores in Montana. More than one billion people use TikTok, and it is especially popular among youngsters. The app, owned by Chinese company Bytedance, is considered to be the most successful non-US digital platform. However, allegations that TikTok allows the Chinese government to access user data and monitor users, especially journalists, have led to its classification as a threat to US national security. In addition, there have been concerns about minors’ protection while using the app.
Governor Greg Gianforte has signed Law SB 419, which bans the operation of TikTok in Montana and imposes a $10,000 daily penalty on the app and app store operators if they violate the law. Users of the app, however, will not be prosecuted, while installed apps do not need to be deleted. There is still uncertainty regarding whether app store providers are allowed to support users with updates. The law will come into effect in January 2024 if TikTok does not challenge it in court.
TikTok has denied the accusations and challenged the law, arguing that it violates the First Amendment. The company is committed to defending its users’ rights inside and outside Montana. It remains to be seen whether the ban will stand in court, as previous attempts by the US government to ban TikTok have failed.