Tiktok is suing the US state after announcing it would ban the video app in Montana. “We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional Tiktok ban to protect our business and hundreds of thousands of Montana Tiktok users,” the company said on Twitter Monday. There are a number of precedents that Tiktok believes put it in a strong legal position.
Montana was the first US state to ban Tiktok last week. The law, signed by Governor Greg Gianforte, will ban download platforms from offering the app from January 1, 2024. Users should not be penalized if they keep and use Tiktok on their devices. In the northwestern state, however, Tiktok should no longer operate as a company.
Tiktok belongs to the Chinese internet group Bytedance and is under strong political pressure in the USA. President Joe Biden’s administration banned its employees from using the app on cell phones.
An investigation has been running in the US for months that could lead to a nationwide ban on Tiktok if there is no change of ownership. The background is concerns that Chinese authorities and secret services could collect information about Americans via Tiktok and influence them politically. The company’s legal objection and lawsuits from private individuals could delay or prevent the law from coming into force.
Critics of the state’s actions say it exceeds its authority to enact such a ban on national security or foreign policy grounds. Montana should not ban an entire platform just because the state perceives some of the statements made there, which are protected by freedom of expression, as dangerous.