Montana Lawmakers Vote To Completely Ban TikTok From The State
Montana became the first state in the nation on Friday to ban TikTok from operating in the state, after lawmakers gave final passage to a bill that will undoubtedly face a tidal wave of legal challenges.
SB 419, which passed the state House by a vote of 54-43, makes it illegal for app stores to let users download the app, and also makes it illegal for TikTok parent ByteDance to operate in the state. The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte's desk for his signature or veto.
The bill goes further than current prohibitions in place by nearly half the states (including Montana) and the federal government which ban the app on government devices.
Legal observers will be paying close attention to the law, as the legal challenges it faces will act as a testing ground for lawmakers who want to follow suit.
According to TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter, "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 NY Post reports.
Oberwetter also implied that the bill is basically virtue signaling, as supporters "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, which is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been under intense scrutiny over concerns it could hand over user data to the Chinese government or push pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation on the platform.
Leaders at the FBI, CIA and numerous lawmakers of both parties have raised those concerns but have not presented any evidence that it has happened. -NY Post
The language of the bill points to concerns over data safety, as well as surveillance from the Chinese government, as well as minors which have engaged in "dangerous activities" due to TikTok challenges (such as cooking chicken in NyQuil and the milk crate challenge).