Montana becomes first US state to ban TikTok
Helena, Montana - Montana has become the first US state to ban the Chinese-developed social media app TikTok, as its Republican governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill into law on Wednesday.
"To protect Montanans' personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned Tiktok in Montana," Gianforte tweeted after signing the bill.
The new rule prohibits app stores from offering the video-sharing app from January 1, 2024, and prevents TikTok from operating as a business in the state.
For every day the social media platform is still available, app providers would have to pay a $10,000 fine. Users do not face a fine, and those who already have the app on their own device are not affected.
TikTok did not initially respond to the legal change. Lawsuits challenging the ban based on the right to freedom of expression are expected.
TikTok already banned on US government devices
Owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok has already been banned on government-issued devices in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the US, amid cybersecurity concerns.
The app has more than a billion users worldwide and is widely used in the US and Europe, fueling fears that Chinese authorities and secret services might use the app to collect information from users or to spread influence.
The company has rejected such allegations.
Cover photo: Collage: JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & 123RF/whitebarbie