18 state attorneys general support Montana’s TikTok ban amid legal challenges

On 18 September, 18 state attorneys general backed Montana’s TikTok ban, citing deceptive practices and harm to children. TikTok is suing to block the ban, while lawmakers debate nationwide restrictions amid concerns of Chinese government influence.

e-commerce, Tik Tok,phone

On 18 September, a group of 18 state attorneys general, including Virginia, Georgia, Alaska, Utah, Indiana, Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and South Dakota, announced their support for Montana’s bid to ban TikTok, pushing a US judge to dismiss legal challenges before the 1 January effective date. The attorneys general argue that TikTok engages in deceptive business practices that encourage the sharing of sensitive personal information that the Chinese Communist Party can access. They also claim that TikTok’s platform harms children in Montana.

TikTok has sued to block the ban on several grounds, violating its First Amendment free speech rights. The hearing on TikTok’s request for a preliminary injunction is scheduled for 12 October.

The app has faced growing calls from US lawmakers for a nationwide ban due to concerns over possible Chinese government influence. However, legislative efforts to give the Biden administration increased authority to regulate or ban TikTok have encountered obstacles.

Montana’s Attorney General, Austin Knudsen, has praised the ban as a means to protect the state from control by a foreign adversary. 

Why does this matter?

This development is part of a broader legal battle where TikTok has taken legal action to prevent the Montana state ban. The group’s decision comes after TikTok requested a District Judge for a preliminary injunction to prevent the Montana ban from taking effect on 1 January 2024. 

TikTok’s pursuit of legal remedies underscores the high stakes involved as it seeks to defend its platform against state-level bans, highlighting its determination to protect its operations and user base in the face of regulatory challenges.

TikTok’s legal manoeuveres are emblematic of the growing tensions between technology companies and government authorities, especially including the concerns over data privacy, national security, and foreign influence. The outcome of this legal battle in Montana could set a precedent with far-reaching implications for regulating social media platforms across the US, influencing how other states and federal authorities approach similar issues in the future.