Montana has become the first US state to ban TikTok after its governor signed legislation banning mobile app stores from offering the app in the state next year.
The European Commission has banned its employees from installing TikTok
The move is the harshest in a series by the US against TikTok, owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance. TikTok has come under scrutiny for its ties with China, amid concerns that such links could pose a threat to national security.
The federal government and more than half of US states have banned the app on government equipment, and the Biden administration has threatened a nationwide ban unless its parent company sells its shares.
The company had previously refused to share data with the Chinese government, saying it would not do so if asked.
TikTok said in a statement that the Montana bill “violates the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by illegally banning TikTok,” and that the company intends to “protect the rights of our users on and off the mountain.” .
In March, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was forced to defend his company’s ties to China in a congressional hearing, at which lawmakers also questioned the CEO about the social network’s impact on youth’s mental health. Did.
TikTok is one of the world’s most popular social networks, with more than 100 million US users, and questions remain about how these restrictions will be implemented and how they will affect creators who use the platform.
Montana’s new law, which takes effect Jan. 1, bans TikTok downloads in the state and will fine any “entity” — an app store or TikTok — every time someone “offers you the possibility “$10,000 Download Social Media Platform or Application. Restrictions on users will not apply.
The Montana ban is expected to face legal challenges, and will serve as a testing ground for the TikTok-less America envisioned by several national lawmakers.
Gianforte also banned the use of all social media applications that collect and provide personal information or data to foreign adversaries on government-provided equipment. Among the apps he listed are WeChat, whose parent company is based in China, and Telegram Messenger, based in Russia.
Opponents of the measure called it government encroachment and said Montana residents could easily circumvent the ban by using a virtual private network, a service that protects Internet users by encrypting their data traffic, allowing others to access their Prevents web browsing from being viewed. Meanwhile, internet freedom advocates and others have criticized the US moves as censorship.
Keegan Medrano, policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Montana, said the legislature “trampled on the free speech of thousands of Montanans who use the app to express themselves, gather information and run their small businesses.” Let’s do it. “In the name of anti-Chinese sentiment.”
NetChoice, a trade group that counts Google and TikTok among its members, called the bill unconstitutional.
“This is a clear violation of the Constitution, which prohibits the government from blocking Americans’ access to constitutionally protected online speech through websites or apps,” said Carl Szabo, Cluster’s vice president and general counsel.