Montana has become the first U.S. state to ban TikTok, a popular Chinese-owned video-sharing platform, from personal devices.
The state’s Republican governor, Greg Gianforte, signed legislation banning the app from mobile app stores.
The legislation makes it illegal for app stores to offer TikTok, but doesn’t prevent those who already own the app from using it.
The new law bans TikTok downloads in the state and will fine any “entity” (app store or TikTok) $10,000 (£8,000) per day every time someone is “offered” to access the social media platform or download the app. Capabilities. Penalties do not apply to users.
The measure, which will take effect on January 1, 2024, is expected to be subject to legal challenges.
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.
TikTok says none of this happened.
“Today, Montana took the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being collected by the Chinese Communist Party,” Mr. Gianforte said after signing the bill on Wednesday.
TikTok spokesman Brooke Oberwetter argued that the law violates people’s First Amendment rights and is illegal.
“We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue to use TikTok to express themselves, make a living, and find community as we continue to work hard to defend the rights of users in and around Montana,” she said.
In March, TikTok’s CEO tried to reassure Congress that the app’s parent company was Not an “agent” of Beijing And it will not pose a threat to national security.
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The latest move comes after Montana banned the app on government-owned devices in December.
More than half of the U.S. states and the federal government have similar bans.