Shortly after Montana’s governor signed a bill that would ban TikTok from the state, five TikTok content creators filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ban — saying the ban is “an unconstitutional violation of free speech rights,” The Associated Press reported.
The five TikTok content creators who filed the lawsuit are Montana residents, and they argued that “the state doesn’t have any authority over matters of national security.” The plaintiffs use the app “for things like promoting a business, connecting with military veterans, sharing outdoor adventures or expressing their sense of humor,” according to AP.
According to the bill, the TikTok ban is supposed to go into effect starting Jan. 1, 2024, and will prevent new downloads of the app after that time. The law would fine any app stores or the video-sharing app itself a whopping $10,000 per day that someone within Montana was able to access or download it, per the Deseret News.
“The law takes the broadest possible approach to its objectives, restricting and banning the protected speech of all TikTok users in Montana to prevent the speculative and unsubstantiated possibility that the Chinese government might direct TikTok Inc., or its parent, to spy on some Montana users,” the complaint states, per AP.
Why is Montana banning TikTok?
Gov. Greg Gianforte and other lawmakers argue “the ban is necessary to prevent Americans’ personal information from falling into the hands of the Chinese government,” The New York Times reported.
According to CNN, “There is no public evidence to suggest that the Chinese government has actually accessed TikTok’s US user data.”
How did TikTok respond to Montana’s TikTok ban?
On Wednesday after the bill was signed, TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said, “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,” per Politico.