Montana becomes the first US state to ban TikTok

The governor of Montana on Wednesday signed into law the law banning TikTok in that US state, marking the start of a likely legal battle all the way to Washington, where Congress is considering banning the popular app nationwide.

“To protect the personal and private data of users from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana,” tweeted Greg Gianforte, the Republican governor of this northwestern state, which has just over a million. of inhabitants.

TikTok is owned by Chinese group ByteDance, and many US lawmakers believe the short, entertaining video platform, frequented by 150 million Americans, allows Beijing to spy on and manipulate users. The app has always denied it.

The Montana parliament had adopted a text in mid-April which orders mobile application stores (Apple and Google) to no longer distribute TikTok from January 1, 2024. The companies concerned risk fines of 10,000 dollars per day for each violation. , but users will not be worried.

This law “infringes the rights of citizens of Montana” in terms of freedom of expression, reacted a spokeswoman for TikTok on Wednesday, referring to the First Amendment of the American Constitution.

“The constitutionality of this text will be decided in the courts. We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana,” she said before the vote.

In addition to the issue of data and misinformation, elected officials accuse TikTok of harmful effects on the health of the youngest (addiction, depression). Some Democratic representatives have replied that other social networks, such as Instagram, deserve to be regulated on all these subjects.

The powerful civil rights association ACLU has also accused the state of censorship.

“With this ban, Governor Gianforte and the Montana legislature are trampling on the free speech of hundreds of thousands of Montana residents who use this app to express themselves, find information and promote their small business, on behalf of anti-Chinese sentiment,” Keegan Medrano, an official with the local ACLU branch, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The law would be invalidated if TikTok were to be bought by an American company (or a country not enemy of the United States).

The White House has encouraged TikTok to seek this type of solution if it wants to be able to stay in the country.

The administration of Joe Biden is discussing with Congress several bills aimed at banning the application, while the decrees already issued by his predecessor Donald Trump in this direction had failed.

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