TikTok recently sued Montana after it became the first state to sign a bill that would ban the popular app starting January 1, citing national security concerns linked to its Chinese owner.
“We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana,” TikTok said in a statement. “We believe that our legal challenge will prevail on the basis of an extremely strong set of precedents and facts.”
The lawsuit, filed Monday, May 22 in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, aims to overturn the ban, which it claims is “unlawful” because it goes against free speech rights across the United States. He also said that Montana’s claim that TikTok encroaches on matters of sole federal concern is a threat to national security and therefore the state should not attempt to regulate the app on that basis.
Owned by Beijing-based ByteDance and with about 150 million users in the United States, TikTok has come under scrutiny in many parts of the world over fears that the Chinese government could access user data. Some in the United States have also suggested that Chinese authorities could interfere with the app’s algorithms to serve up pro-China content or content harmful to US interests. TikTok has always denied allegations of wrongdoing.
The lawsuit states that Montana’s concerns that Chinese officials may have access to data relating to US-based TikTok users are unfounded, alleging that the state has taken these extraordinary and unprecedented measures based on “nothing more than speculation.” Has been applied.” baseless”.
TikTok’s decision to sue Montana comes just days after a group of five TikTok creators took a similar action against the state treasury following a ban.
More than half of US states have so far banned the app from being used on federal devices, but Montana last week became the first state to introduce legislation that seeks to block downloads of the app within its state lines.
Montana’s ban will not prevent existing users from accessing the app. Instead, the ban aims to disrupt app availability by threatening $10,000 fines for companies like TikTok, Apple and Google each day the app stays in the App Store, from where Montana users can download it.
Some have suggested that Montana’s law is more symbolic, as it may be challenging to implement, although if Montana’s actions inspire many other states to follow suit, its ban will surely be a different one. Will be seen in the light.