Montana legislators have taken steps to fully prohibit TikTok from operating in the state due to apprehensions regarding the app's connections to China and potential national security risks.
After being approved by the Republican-led Senate, the bill was passed by the Republican-controlled state House on Friday. As a result, the bill will prohibit app stores from making the TikTok app available to users in Montana.
The bill will now be sent to Republican Governor Greg Gianforte's desk for consideration, and he has not revealed his stance on signing it into law yet. According to his office, the governor will thoughtfully review any legislation presented to him by the Legislature. If he approves the bill, it will take effect on January 1, 2024.
As per the language of the bill, the rationale behind the prohibition of TikTok is that the app “gathers significant information from its users, accessing data against their will to share with the People’s Republic of China” and “fails to remove, and may even promote, dangerous content that directs minors to engage in dangerous activities.”
Good for Montana
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) April 15, 2023
Republican State Senator Shelley Vance, who sponsored the bill, stated that TikTok posed a significant risk to national security. The app is owned by Chinese company ByteDance and has been accused of providing China access to personal information of Americans.
According to a TikTok spokesperson, the proposed prohibition would infringe upon the First Amendment, and it would be challenging to implement the ban effectively.
“We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach,” spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter said.
Apple and Google could potentially be fined $10,000 per day if they permit users to download the app from their respective app stores.
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