Creators Fight Back Against Montana’s TikTok Ban

Montana is on the path to becoming the first state in the United States to ban TikTok, a Chinese-owned video-sharing application, with fines of $10,000 for each violation.

TikTok and five content creators have filed lawsuits against the State of Montana to block the impending law on the grounds that it violates the US Constitution’s Commerce Clause as well as federal law. Blake Chandlee, the president of TikTok Global Business Solutions, expressed the considerable risk this ban holds for his company in a court filing.

“The Montana ban will cause significant and irreversible harms to our business and our brand, and would harm relationships with advertisers and business partners across the country and around the world,” said Chandlee.

Montana became the first US state to pass a ban on TikTok, stating that as of 1st January 2024 app stores will no longer be able to distribute it in the state. After the implementation of this bill, the Attorney General of Montana Austin Knudsen wrote a statement describing his fear; that the app may be used to access information on U.S. citizens or push pro-Beijing misinformation.

Read more: Montana Gov To Expand Bill Banning TikTok To Other Social Media Platforms

TikTok Global argued it had taken “substantial measures” to protect the privacy and security of users and denied sharing user data with China. Contrary to this, Emily Flower, who leads the internet safety program for the Montana Attorney General’s Office, claimed that “TikTok users don’t use the app – the app uses them and turns them into a spying apparatus for the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok’s ‘support’ is bought and paid for – Montanans recognize the threat that the app poses to their privacy and national security.”

TikTok also faced calls from U.S. lawmakers to impose a nationwide ban, with more than half of U.S. states, including Montana, and the federal government banning the application from government-owned devices.

The appeal of the court case comes before the Montana law is due to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024. If the injunction is not granted, it could impose fines of $10,000 for each violation by TikTok. The court will decide whether the people of Montana will still be allowed to use TikTok or not. More than 380,000 people in the state, that’s more than a third of the state’s 1.1 million people, use the app. Whether they will continue to have access to the app is yet to be seen.