HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana became the first state in the U.S. to completely ban TikTok on Wednesday when the state’s Republican governor signed a measure more drastic than any other state’s attempts to curtail the social media app.
The measure is expected to face legal challenge and serve as a testing ground for the TikTok-free America envisioned by many national legislators.
Some lawmakers, the FBI and other agency officials are concerned that the video-sharing app, owned by Chinese technology company ByteDance, could be used to give the Chinese government access to information about US citizens or to spread pro-Beijing misinformation. disseminate information to the public. TikTok says none of this ever happened.
When Montana banned the app on government-owned devices in late December, Governor Greg Gianforte said TikTok posed a “significant risk” to sensitive state data. More than half of the US states and federal government have similar bans.
Gianforte signed the legislation after it passed easily through the GOP-controlled Montana legislature.
Montana’s new law bans downloading TikTok in the state and would fine any “entity” – an app store or TikTok – $10,000 a day for every time someone is “given the opportunity” to access it. social media platform or download the app. The fines do not apply to users.
Detractors argue that this is government overreach and say Montana residents can easily circumvent the ban by using a virtual private network, a service that shields internet users by encrypting their data traffic, preventing others from monitoring their web browsing and other activities. to observe. Montana state officials say geofencing technology is being used with online sports betting apps, which have been deactivated in states where online gambling is illegal.
TikTok, which has said it has a plan to protect US users, has vowed to fight back against the ban, along with small business owners who said they use the app for advertising to grow their business and get more customers. reaches. The ACLU of Montana opposed the bill, arguing that it was an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.
The app’s fun, wacky videos and ease of use have made it immensely popular, and US tech giants such as Snapchat and Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, see the app as a threat to competition.