Five TikTok content creators have filed a lawsuit challenging the first-in-nation law that seeks to ban the popular video-sharing app in Montana.
The content creators argue the law infringes on their constitutional right to free speech and claims the state does not have jurisdiction over national security matters.
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law, citing concerns about the Chinese government harvesting Montana residents’ private data and personal information.
Read More: Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signs ban on Tiktok
The ban is set to take effect on January 1, 2024, and would prohibit TikTok downloads in the state.
There will be a fine of $10,000 per day if any “entity,” such as an app store or TikTok, “is offered the ability” to access the social media platform or download the app.
Users would be exempt from the penalties.
The creators claim that the ban would deprive them of their ability to express themselves and communicate with others.
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The plaintiffs’ attorneys wrote: “Montana can no more ban its residents from viewing or posting to TikTok than it could ban the Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes.”
TikTok has previously argued that the law violates individuals’ First Amendment rights but declined to comment on the lawsuit.
This case could have broader implications for the ongoing debate about TikTok’s presence in America.
Some lawmakers and agencies have expressed concerns about the app’s potential to compromise national security or spread pro-Beijing misinformation.
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Over half of US states and the federal government have banned TikTok on government-owned devices.
Opponents of Montana’s law contend that residents could easily bypass the ban using virtual private networks (VPNs) or other methods.
The lawsuit will test the constitutionality of the Montana ban and could have significant implications for the future of TikTok in the country.
TikTok has repeatedly denied allegations of sharing user data with the Chinese government and maintains that it operates independently from Beijing’s influence.
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