On Friday, Montana became the first state to ban TikTok from all devices in the state. Other efforts to ban TikTok have only affected government-owned devices.
The state’s House of Representatives passed SB 419, which had already passed the state’s Senate, meaning the only thing preventing it from becoming law is a signature from Gov. Greg Gianforte.
The bill bans TikTok from operating “within the territorial jurisdiction of Montana” because of allegations that the app can be used by the Chinese government for spying on and influencing Americans.
Violating the law could result in fines of up to $10,000 per day. The penalties apply to entities allowing the downloading of TikTok, not users.
“TikTok endangers the safety of Montanans and Americans at large,” said state Sen. Shelley Vance, one of the authors of the bill. “We know that beyond a doubt that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is operating as a surveillance arm of the Chinese Communist Party and gathers information about Americans against their will.”
The bill will take effect in January 2024. However, it becomes void if TikTok transfers its US business from China or if Congress passes its own federal TikTok ban.
A spokesperson for TikTok said, “We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach.”
The bill could result in other states passing similar bans. If that happens, TikTok could be forced to transfer its US business from China, a proposal supported by the White House.