The Governor Of Montana, Greg Gianforte, Has Banned TikTok In The State
Addison Rae and other TikTok stars have been BANNED in Montana. Sort of. The governor of the state, Republican Greg Gianforte, has banned TikTok for all residents effective 2024. Welp, time for the TikTok influencers of Montana (do those exist?!) to turn in their six-figure gigs for 9-to-5 minimum wage retail jobs–the day they’ve always feared is here!
TikTok, owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, has been facing threats of getting banned in the U.S. for a while. During Trump’s reign, he tried to kill TikTok in America. And this past March, TikTok’s CEO, Shou Zi Chew, was grilled during a US congressional hearing where he denied that the Chinese government has access to TikTok’s user data. The app has been criticized for collecting more data than other apps, but many have argued that all social media apps collect tons of data. And now Montana has become the first state to ban the app.
Politico says that Gov. Gianforte signed the bill into state legislature yesterday, and the goal is to protect citizens from foreign interference. Domestic interference is fine, though, I guess:
“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gianforte said in a statement. “Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.”
The state’s action follows efforts in Congress, including a bipartisan bill in the Senate targeting TikTok and other apps from foreign adversaries. But momentum has stalled in recent weeks after libertarian members like Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and progressive Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) came out against a ban.
This ban takes effect in January. Any app store that features TikTok will face a $10,000 fine per violation and an additional $10,000 per day charge if the violation continues. But of course, it’s expected that people will challenge the legislation in court, with TikTok itself saying the law violates the First Amendment and will assess their own legal options:
“We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana,” Brooke Oberwetter, a TikTok spokesperson, said in a statement.
But TikTok is not alone in their fight, Carl Szabo, the Vice President and general counsel at NetChoice–a tech trade group that represents TikTok–also gave a statement about it which says in part: “We are disappointed to see Gov. Gianforte sign this plainly unconstitutional bill.” And even the ACLU is on Montana’s ass for this:
The signing also drew criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union. “With this ban, Governor Gianforte and the Montana legislature have trampled on the free speech of hundreds of thousands of Montanans who use the app to express themselves, gather information, and run their small business in the name of anti-Chinese sentiment,” said Keegan Medrano, policy director at the ACLU of Montana. “We will never trade our First Amendment rights for cheap political points.”
Well on that note, the bill also includes other “foreign adversaries” getting banned:
Gianforte also sent a directive Wednesday to the state’s Chief Information Officer to ban social media apps from all foreign adversaries on all government-issued devices or while connected to state internet networks. This includes social media apps from TikTok’s owner ByteDance, including CapCut, Lemon8 and TikTok, as well as Telegram messenger, which was founded in Russia; Temu, which is owned by China-based Pinduoduo, and WeChat, owned by China-based Tencent.
Welp, maybe Jason DeRulo can do something about this since he’s the one who made TikTok what it is today. Is he just gonna stand by and allow the app that he helped nurse to life, fade away? He’ll fight hecklers in Las Vegas, but not an authoritarian government?!