As a measure to shield citizens from alleged Chinese intelligence collection, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation banning Chinese-owned TikTok from functioning in the state.
This makes Montana the first U.S. state to outlaw the well-known short video app. Montana will forbid Google and Apple’s app stores from offering TikTok within the state, but it won’t impose any fines on users of the program. Legal challenges are almost certainly going to be made to the prohibition, which is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2024. ByteDance, a Chinese software company that owns TikTok, declined to comment when asked by Reuters if it intended to take legal action.
Earlier, TikTok issued a statement in which it asserted that the new law illegally forbids TikTok and violates the First Amendment rights of Montanans. It also committed to keep fighting for the rights of our users both inside and outside of Montana. Even though TikTok has more than 150 million users in the US, state and federal officials have been getting more requests for the service to be rendered completely illegal due to suspicions of the Chinese government’s influence over the platform.
Teenagers now use the app in astronomical numbers. TikTok is used by 67% of American kids between the ages of 13 and 17, according to the Pew Research Centre, with 16% of all youths reporting that they use it very regularly. According to TikTok, people over the age of 18 make up the “vast majority” of its user base.
A congressional panel questioned Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, in March about whether the Chinese government could access user data or affect what Americans saw on the app. However, there has been little progress in Congress over calls to outlaw TikTok nationally or to grant the Biden administration new authority to impose restrictions or ban TikTok.
The law, according to Republican Gianforte, will advance “our shared priority to protect Montanans from Chinese Communist Party surveillance.” The Chinese government has requested data from TikTok on numerous occasions, but the business has consistently denied doing so and stated that it would not comply with such a request.