TikTok sues Montana over statewide ban

·2 min read

TikTok is suing Montana after a statewide ban was passed last week to take effect at the start of 2024.

The state’s Republican governor signed legislation Wednesday making the Treasure State — population 1.12 million — the nations’ first state to block the popular social media platform.

“Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party,” Gov. Greg declared after signing S.B. 419 last week.

TikTok, whose parent company in based in Beijing, fired back Monday with a lawsuit targeting Montana’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen.

“This action seeks to prevent the State of Montana from unlawfully banning TikTok, a short-form video sharing platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of users in Montana to communicate and express themselves, primarily through creating, sharing, and interacting with short-form videos on topics ‘as diverse as human thought,’” TikTok charged in a filing citing U.S. precedent to argue its claim.

TikTok says 150 million Americans use the platform every month. Its filing claims “Montanans use TikTok to communicate with each other and others around the world on an endless variety of topics, from business to politics to the arts, by creating and sharing videos, sending messages to each other, and interacting with each other’s content.”

U.S. lawmakers have expressed concern ByteDance could be compelled by China’s communist government to share data on TikTok users abroad. The White House ordered Federal employees to delete TikTok from government-owned mobile devices in March.

TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew told congress in March his company, which has headquarters in Los Angeles and Singapore, stores American user information on servers operated by an outside contractor in Texas. He insisted the China’s Communist Party “doesn’t have voting rights in ByteDance.

A handful of TikTok users sued the state of Montana on Friday claiming the ban violated their First Amendment rights, according to CNN.

“I hope other states recognize the dangers of TikTok and follow suit,” Knudsen tweeted last week after Montana’s governor took action.

TikTok did not return a request for comment.

With News Wire Services