Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed legislation banning TikTok on Wednesday, making the state the first in the nation to block access to the app amid growing data privacy concerns.
The law, which is set to go into effect Jan. 1, bars TikTok from operating within Montana and prohibits app stores, such as Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store, from making TikTok available to download in the state.
TikTok and app stores could face fines of up to $10,000 per day for violations under the law. However, the penalties would not apply to users.
The app, which is owned by the Chinese-based company ByteDance, has faced increased scrutiny over its handling of U.S. user data, with federal lawmakers also looking at legislation that would allow the federal government to restrict or ban apps like TikTok.
The Montana law points to concerns that the Chinese government “exercises control and oversight over ByteDance, like other Chinese corporations, and can direct the company to share user information.”
“To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana,” Gianforte tweeted on Wednesday.
However, the law appears likely to be challenged in court.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups urged Montana state lawmakers to oppose the bill last month, calling it “censorship” and claiming it would “violate the First Amendment rights of hundreds of thousands of Montanans.”
Source: Montana bans TikTok, first state to prohibit China-based app (thehill.com)