The state of Montana is getting ready to make history by becoming the first state in the United States to restrict access to the Chinese-owned media giant TikTok on personal devices.
On Wednesday, the prohibition became a law after being signed by Governor Greg Gianforte. On January 1st, it will become official and operational. According to the video-sharing network, the ban violates the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to the individuals living in Montana.
Authorities all over the world have begun to look more closely at TikTok due to their concerns that user information may be shared with the Chinese government. Mr. Gianforte, who identifies as a Republican, testified before legislators that expanding the scope of the ban will further their collective aim of shielding Montanans from surveillance by the Chinese Communist Party.
In a statement, TikTok claimed that its application was utilized by hundreds of thousands of users in the state of Montana. As the firm continues to work to defend the rights of its users both inside and outside of Montana, they have issued a statement in which they expressed their desire to reassure the people of Montana that TikTok may be utilized as a platform on which they can express themselves, earn a living, and also discover a community.
It is anticipated that TikTok would fight the legislation in the judicial system. By a vote of 54 to 43, Montana legislature passed a ban on TikTok on personal devices last month. The law makes it unlawful for app stores to distribute TikTok, but it does not prohibit the use of the app by those who already have it.
Last December, the state of Montana, which has a population of just over one million, prohibited the app from being installed on government-owned devices. According to TikTok, there are 150 million subscribers in the United States. Although the app's user base has grown in recent years, it remains most popular among adolescents and those in their twenties. However, there are concerns across the political spectrum in the United States that TikTok may pose a threat to national security. ByteDance, a Chinese corporation, owns TikTok.
In March, a congressional committee interrogated Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, regarding whether the Chinese government could access user data or influence what Americans see on the app. Mr. Shou repeatedly stated that the company would never spy on Americans, despite acknowledging that employees had used journalists' TikTok accounts to gather information about them.
At the beginning of March, the US authorities announced that ByteDance is required to sell TikTok or face the possibility of a ban in the country. The penalties only apply to businesses, not to individuals. The Montana Department of Justice would enforce fines of up to $10,000 (£8,012) against companies that violate the law. Apple and Google could be fined if they permit TikTok to be downloaded in Montana from their respective app stores.
TikTok's parent company, ByteDance, has frequently refuted claims that the Chinese government exerts any influence over the platform.