Montana Republican Governor Signs Law to Ban App Stores From Offering TikTok

A person pulling up the Tiktok app on their phone

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte tweeted Wednesday that he banned TikTok “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”

The governor of Montana signed legislation on Wednesday that will ban TikTok in the state.

Republican Governor Greg Gianforte tweeted Wednesday that he banned TikTok “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”

The bill, set to take effect in January, was passed by the Montana House 54-43 before it hit Gianforte’s desk, according to the bill’s information.

Montana is the first state to impose a TikTok ban due to a perceived security risk stemming from the app being owned by a company based in China

“TikTok is a wholly owned subsidiary of ByteDance, a Chinese corporation,” the bill reads. “The People's Republic of China exercises control and oversight over ByteDance [owner of TikTok], like other Chinese corporations, and can direct the company to share user information, including real-time physical locations of users.”

The bill states that any “entity” that violates the ban could be fined $10,000 for each violation and an additional $10,000 for each day the violation continues. Those that could be fined include mobile app stores that offer TikTok. 

Along with the perceived security threat, the bill also cites dangerous content as a reason behind the ban. 

“TikTok fails to remove, and may even promote, dangerous content that directs minors to engage in dangerous activities,” the bill reads. “TikTok's allowance and promotion of dangerous challenges threatens the health and safety of Montanans.”

The ACLU responded to the news of the ban by saying, “this law tramples on our free speech rights under the guise of national security and lays the groundwork for excessive government control over the internet.”

“Elected officials do not have the right to selectively censor entire social media apps based on their country of origin,” the ACLU tweeted. 

Besides TikTok, the governor also released a memo stating that he will be prohibiting the use of any apps that are tied to foreign adversaries on state-issued devices and while on the state’s network.

“Foreign adversaries’ collection and use of Montanans’ personal information and data from social media applications infringe on Montanans’ constitutionally guaranteed individual right to privacy,” wrote Gianforte. 

Related Stories