OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
11:24 AM –Friday, May 19, 2023
Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation on Thursday, making Montana the first state to enact a complete ban on the app TikTok.
Gianforte (R-Mont.) took to Twitter and announced that he had banned TikTok in the Treasure State in order “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”
The bill, named SB419, is scheduled to take effect on January 1st, 2024. It will prohibit mobile app stores from offering the video-sharing platform by next year, fining any “entity” over $10,000 per day for each time someone “is offered the ability” to access the social media platform or download the app. The penalties would reportedly not apply to users.
Last month, lawmakers in Montana’s House of Representatives had voted 54-43 to pass the bill which sent it to Gianforte’s desk.
As a response to the ban, spokesperson for TikTok, Brooke Oberwetter, released a statement saying that the Montana bill “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok.”
“Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state. We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana,” the company said.
The company had also attested that it intends to “defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.”
A group of TikTok video makers from Montana brought a lawsuit against the restriction in federal court in protest. They said it went beyond the scope of the state’s power and ought to be declared illegal.
“Montana has no authority to enact laws advancing what it believes should be the United States’ foreign policy or its national security interests, nor may Montana ban an entire forum for communication based on its perceptions that some speech shared through that forum, though protected by the First Amendment, is dangerous,” the lawsuit said.
The Montana Department of Justice have said that they anticipate TikTok and app shops to comply with the legislation, according to a representative for Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen’s office. They claimed that “geofencing” technology, which may restrict access depending on location, is already in use.
This comes as the Biden administration has threatened a countrywide ban unless its parent corporation sells its shares. The federal government and more than half of U.S. states have already forbid the software from being used on government-owned smartphones.
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