Montana is the first state to ban TikTok

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana became the first state in the U.S. to ban TikTok outright on Wednesday, when the state’s Republican governor signed into law a measure that goes farther than attempts by any other state to ban social media Restrict app.

The measure is expected to be legally challenged and will serve as the testing ground for the TikTok-free America that many national lawmakers have envisioned.

Some lawmakers, the FBI and other agency officials fear that Chinese tech company ByteDance’s video-sharing app could be used to allow the Chinese government to access information about American citizens or to spread pro-Beijing misinformation that influences that could public. TikTok says none of this ever happened.

When Montana banned the app on state-owned devices in late December, Gov. Greg Gianforte said TikTok posed a “significant risk” to sensitive state data. More than half of the US states and the federal government have a similar ban.

Gianforte signed the law after it passed the GOP-controlled Montana Legislature with ease.

Montana’s new law bans downloading TikTok in the state and fines any “entity” — an app store or TikTok — $10,000 per day for each time someone is “offered the opportunity.” access the social media platform or download the app. The penalties would not apply to users.

FILE - This file photo dated February 25, 2020 shows the icon for TikTok.
FILE – This file photo dated February 25, 2020 shows the icon for TikTok.

Opponents believe this is an overstatement by the government and say Montana residents could easily circumvent the ban by using a virtual private network, a service that protects internet users by encrypting their traffic and preventing others from browsing their web and others to observe activities. Montana state officials say geofencing technology is being used on online sports gambling apps, which are disabled in states where online gambling is illegal.

TikTok, which has said it has a plan to protect US users, has vowed to fight back the ban, as have small business owners who said they use the app for advertising to grow their business and reach more customers . The Montana ACLU opposed the bill on the grounds that it would be an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.

The app’s fun, goofy videos and ease of use have made it hugely popular, and US tech giants like Snapchat and Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, see it as a threat to competitors.

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