Montana Approves TikTok Ban Carrying $10,000 Fine for App Stores
Montana is set to become the first U.S. state to ban TikTok downloads. On Friday, Montana’s House voted 54-43 in favor of the measure that would ban the social media app from operating in the state, AP reports. The bill now goes to the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, who can sign it into law.
The proposed legislation referred to concerns over surveillance and data safety from the Chinese government and minors participating in “dangerous activities” popularized by app users.
The bill would fine any “entity,” such as an app store or TikTok, $10,000 per day every time a user “is offered the ability” to access or download the app; users themselves would not be penalized. How a statewide TikTok ban would be enforced is currently unclear.
Brooke Oberwetter, a spokesperson for TikTok told NBC in a statement: “The bill’s champions have admitted that they have no feasible plan for operationalizing this attempt to censor American voices and that the bill’s constitutionality will be decided by the courts.” Oberwetter vowed to “fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach.”
In February, the Biden administration gave government agencies 30 days to remove TikTok from all federal devices and systems. Last December, Congress passed the “No TikTok on Government Devices Act” amid growing national security concerns over the app’s Chinese parent company ByteDance.
Montana’s proposed bill would not go into effect until January 2024 and would be voided if Congress passes a national TikTok ban.
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