Montana is the first US state to ban TikTok. Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a law to that effect, effective Jan. 1, 2024. The Republican says his state goes to great lengths of all states to protect residents’ privacy and prevent the Chinese Communist Party from hijacking personal data.
The ban on the social media app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, is likely to be challenged in court. There are a lot of eyes on this matter in Montana, a sparsely populated state in the northwestern United States.
In the US, there are concerns that China could use the app to collect data on US citizens or spread Chinese propaganda through social media. Previously, government employees were already banned from using TikTok on their work phones. This happened in about half of the US states as well as in several European countries. There are also concerns about the safety of minors, who are challenged by the app to take part in “challenges” such as cooking chicken in medicine and climbing stacks of milk crates.
Under the new law in Montana, the App Store or TikTok itself could be fined $10,000 per day every time people are allowed to use or download the app. Fines do not go to users.
TikTok denies that the app collects private data en masse. The company behind it has announced that it will do everything it can to continue serving users in the future.
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