TikTok sued Montana on Monday, days later Governor Greg Gianforte signed a law that would ban the app in the state. This is the company’s first official move to prevent the ban.
The new law — SB 419 — is the first state-wide ban on the app, and it’s the most aggressive ban in the U.S. It follows a ban that banned the use of TikTok on government devices in Montana, a less controversial decision that mirrored. similar restrictions in other states. SB 419 will take effect on January 1, 2024 unless the court stops it. TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Mashable.
“We are challenging the unconstitutional ban on TikTok in Montana to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana,” Brooke Oberwetter, a TikTok spokeswoman, said. told The Verge(opens in new tab) in a statement. “We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on a stronger set of precedents and facts.”
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The lawsuit argued(opens in new tab) that Montana’s ban “abridges free speech in violation of the First Amendment, violates the US Constitution in many other respects, and is preempted by federal law.” This argument is not a special TikTok PR – civil liberties groups like the ACLU have raised the exact same criticism of the bill. After Governor Gianforte signed the bill into law, Keegan Medrano, policy director of the ACLU of Montana, said the Montana governor and legislature are “trampling on the free speech of hundreds of thousands of Montanans who use the app to express themselves.” themselves, gathering information, and running their little business in the name of anti-Chinese sentiment.”
All of this comes just days after a group of TikTok creators in Montana also sued the state over the ban, also saying it violates Montanans’ First Amendment rights by not allowing residents of the state to participate in a forum for sharing and receiving speech.
TikTok creators are suing Montana over the ban
“Montana has no authority to enact laws advancing what it believes to be the necessary foreign policy of the United States or its national security interests, nor can Montana prohibit an entire forum for of communication based on its views shared by certain speech through that forum, although protected by the First Amendment, is dangerous,” read the maker’s suit(opens in new tab). “Montana can no more ban residents from viewing or posting on TikTok than it can ban the Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes.”
It is unlikely that the ban will be effective, even without an admirable fight. But even if it happens, There are ways to bypass TikTok ban.