Governor Gianforte has made history by becoming the first state to restrict downloads of TikTok, the app that has been accused of being a tool for the Chinese Communist Party to spy on Americans. He signed legislation that prohibits app stores from offering TikTok for download and bans the company from operating within Montana.
In a statement, Gianforte emphasized the well-documented concerns about the Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to violate Americans’ privacy and collect their personal information. By taking this decisive action, Montana is leading the way in safeguarding the private data and sensitive information of its residents.
However, legal challenges are expected, with TikTok vowing to fight the law in court. TikTok users are reluctant to part ways with their beloved app, but Gianforte stands firm, asserting that he is protecting the privacy of Montanans.
TikTok’s spokesperson, Brooke Oberwetter, condemned the bill as “unlawful” and reassured Montanans that they can continue using the app to express themselves and find community support. Oberwetter criticized the lack of a feasible plan for enforcing this attempt to censor American voices.
While Montana becomes the first state to ban TikTok downloads and usage, it is worth noting that TikTok has faced restrictions by governors in other states, particularly on state-issued devices. Furthermore, President Joe Biden already banned TikTok for federal government employees last year.
Montana had previously banned TikTok on state-issued devices, and now the new law extends the ban to personal devices as well. The legislation prohibits Apple, Google, and other companies from offering TikTok for download. Violations of the law may result in fines of $10,000 per violation for app stores or ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, along with additional daily fines for ongoing violations.
The enforcement of this law remains uncertain, and it is expected to face legal challenges. The bill received bipartisan support in both the Montana House and Senate, reflecting the concerns over TikTok’s ownership by a Chinese company and its data collection practices. Supporters argue that TikTok poses a threat to American interests and companies, operating as a surveillance arm of the Chinese Communist Party.
While Governor Gianforte’s intention to protect Montanans’ privacy is commendable, the legal implications of the ban will unfold in the coming months.