Tuesday, July 16, 2024

TikTok sues Montana over statewide ban

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The video-sharing app, Tiktok, has sued the state of Montana over a new law that prohibits the use of the service in the state.

Montana became the first state in the US to ban the app after the bill was signed to law by Republican Governor, Greg Gianforte, on Wednesday. The law is set to take effect in January 2024.

According to Gainforte, the law was “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”

In a statement shared with CBS News, a spokesperson for TikTok said the ban was “unconstitutional” and the company had optimism that it would prevail over the ban in court.

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“We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana,” the statement read. “We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts.”

The company argued in the suit that the ban “effects a prior restraint on the speech of Plaintiff and other TikTok users, unconstitutionally shutting down the forum for speech for all speakers on the app and singling these speakers out for disfavored treatment with the content-based rationale that videos on TikTok are harmful to minors.”

Another ground for challenging the ban, as stated in the suit, was that security concerns about the Chinese government having access to user data fell under the authority of the US government rather than an individual state.

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Already, TikTok content creators in Montana have taken the state government to court over the ban, which threatens their livelihood.

The group filed the complaint on Wednesday, just hours after the governor assented to the bill. According to them, the ban violates their First Amendment right to access and create “lawful speech.”

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