On Friday, the Montana House of Representatives voted 54–43 to support a bill that forbids TikTok from functioning inside the state’s borders and forbids citizens from installing the app. According to CNN, lawmakers forwarded the measure to Republican Governor of Montana Greg Gianforte, and if he approves it, it will go into effect in January 2024.
Gianforte spokesman Brooke Stroyke told the publication that the governor would carefully review any legislation that was presented to him by the legislature.
If the Act takes effect in January 2024, it particularly targets TikTok, and violators will be penalized $10,000 per violation each day. The law will be void if ByteDance, TikTok’s Chinese parent firm, sells the app or if Congress adopts a ban. After an extensive, years-long national security evaluation process that was finally completed in March, the Biden administration advised ByteDance to sell TikTok in order to avoid a potential ban.
In a statement to CNN, TikTok made a legal challenge to the prospective ban seem likely.
Brooke Oberwetter, a representative for TikTok, told the source, “The bill’s champions have admitted they have no practical plan for operationalizing this attempt to censor American voices and that the bill’s constitutionality will be decided by the courts.” “We will keep fighting for Montanan TikTok users and creators whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are at risk due to this egregious government overreach,” the statement reads.
Due to ByteDance-related national security issues, TikTok has under intense bipartisan investigation. Bipartisan legislators questioned TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew during a congressional hearing in March over the app’s suspected monitoring of American users and ByteDance’s purported links to the Chinese government.
Due to worries about national security, Montana is one of several US states that has banned TikTok on official devices. Similar legislation was enacted by Congress as part of the $1.7 trillion omnibus budget measure that President Joe Biden signed in December 2022.