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Montana approves statewide ban on TikTok

Picture: WSJ

On Friday, Montana lawmakers passed a groundbreaking bill to prohibit the use of TikTok across the state, which could lead to future legal disputes that may determine the fate of the popular Chinese-owned social media platform in the United States.

The bill, which would go into effect on January 1, 2024, would ban TikTok from operating in Montana and prohibit app stores from offering the platform. Any entity that violates this law would be fined $10,000 per offense, although some aspects of the legislation's enforcement remain uncertain.

Governor Greg Gianforte's office refused to indicate whether he would sign the bill, but the governor previously prohibited TikTok on government-issued devices and encouraged the state university system to do the same. Once the governor receives the bill, he has ten days to act on it before it becomes law automatically.

The bill's sponsors predicted legal challenges that could ultimately reach the Supreme Court of the United States if Gianforte signs it. The American Civil Liberties Union and other critics argued that the bill constitutes censorship and violates First Amendment free-speech rights.

TikTok has vowed to "continue to fight" for the rights of its users and creators in Montana. Despite its population of slightly over one million people, the company employed lobbyists based in Helena and recruited local TikTok creators to appear in newspaper advertisements opposing the bill.

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