Montana signs law banning TikTok over national security concerns

The first US state to implement a TikTok ban, Montana prohibits the app on Google and Apple stores starting 1 January 2024.

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Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has signed a law banning TikTok, the popular Chinese-owned short video app, in an effort to protect residents from alleged intelligence gathering by China. Montana will prohibit Google and Apple’s app stores from offering TikTok within the state, effective 1 January 2024

Individuals using the app will not face penalties. It is the first US state to impose a ban, which is not expected to be implemented without facing legal challenges. TikTok has criticised the law, claiming it infringes on First Amendment rights.

The app has increasingly faced scrutiny from US lawmakers over concerns of Chinese government influence, but previous attempts at a nationwide ban were blocked. Critics of the law include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who deemed it unconstitutional and limiting free speech. 

Gianforte banned not only TikTok but also the use of social media apps collecting and sharing personal information with foreign adversaries on state government devices. Meanwhile, TikTok is developing Project Texas, an initiative to store American user data within the US using servers operated by Oracle, an American tech company.