Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, a Republican, has signed legislation banning TikTok in the state.
The law, which goes into effect in January, prohibits TikTok from operating in the state and Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store from offering it for download to customers.
Montana is now the first state in the nation to pass a law banning the social media company. TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, has ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
“To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana,” Gianforte tweeted on Wednesday.
To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana.
— Governor Greg Gianforte (@GovGianforte) May 17, 2023
The Hill reports, “TikTok and app stores could face fines of up to $10,000 per day for violations under the law. However, the penalties would not apply to users.”
Congress and the Biden administration have been discussing forcing the sale of TikTok or banning the social media platform over concerns that it is a national security risk. The idea was originally floated by Donald Trump during his presidency, but was opposed by Democrats.
TikTok has also opposed any bans on the app, claiming that it would violate the free speech rights of millions of Americans who use the platform.
“A U.S. ban on TikTok is a ban on the export of American culture and values to the billion-plus people who use our service worldwide. We’re disappointed to see this rushed piece of legislation move forward, despite its considerable negative impact on the free speech rights of millions of Americans who use and love TikTok,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said in a statement in March.
Last year, the commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission urged Apple and Google to remove TikTok from their app stores over an “unacceptable national security risk.” In a letter on June 24, he wrote to Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet Inc. and Google LLC CEO Sundar Pichai about how the app is a “sophisticated surveillance tool.”
“TikTok is not what it appears to be on the surface. It is not just an app for sharing funning videos or memes. That’s the sheep’s clothing,” Carr asserted in the letter. “At its core, TikTok functions as a sophisticated surveillance tool that harvests extensive amounts of personal and sensitive data.”