Montana’s recent ban on TikTok has sparked a legal battle as five users and content creators of the platform filed a lawsuit in the US District Court in Montana. The ban, signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte, is set to take effect on January 1, 2024.
It aims to protect residents from alleged intelligence gathering by China and prohibits the Google and Apple app stores from offering TikTok for download within the state.
The lawsuit specifically names Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who is responsible for enforcing the ban. Knudsen’s spokesperson stated that the state expected legal challenges and is prepared to defend the legislation.
The plaintiffs argue that the ban infringes upon their First Amendment rights, and TikTok itself has criticized the ban on similar grounds.
TikTok has been under increasing scrutiny from US lawmakers due to concerns over potential Chinese government influence.
However, previous attempts at a nationwide ban on the platform have been blocked. Critics of the Montana ban, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), consider it unconstitutional and a limitation on free speech. The outcome of the lawsuit will determine whether Montana’s ban on TikTok will withstand legal scrutiny.