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Monday, May 20, 2024

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TikTok Sues Montana Over Law Banning the App

TikTok, the popular social media app owned by Chinese company ByteDance, has sued the state of Montana over a law that would ban the app in the state.

The law, which was signed by Montana Governor Greg Gianforte last week, would take effect on January 1, 2024. It would prohibit TikTok from operating within the state and would also prohibit app stores from offering the app for download.

TikTok argues that the law is unconstitutional and violates its First Amendment rights. The company also argues that the law is based on unfounded concerns about the security of its data.

"TikTok is a popular and widely used platform for millions of Americans," the company said in a statement. "The state of Montana's law is a clear violation of the First Amendment and will have a chilling effect on free speech."

The law is the first of its kind in the United States. It is unclear whether other states will follow Montana's lead.

The case is being closely watched by legal experts and tech companies. It could have implications for the future of social media in the United States.

Background

TikTok is a popular social media app that allows users to create and share short videos. The app has been downloaded over 2 billion times and has over 1 billion active users.

In 2020, then-President Donald Trump issued an executive order that would have banned TikTok from the United States. The order was based on concerns that TikTok could be used by the Chinese government to collect data on American users.

A federal judge blocked the order, and the Trump administration eventually withdrew it. However, the concerns about TikTok's security have persisted.

The Law

The law that TikTok is suing over was passed by the Montana Legislature in April 2023. The law prohibits TikTok from operating within the state and also prohibits app stores from offering the app for download.

The law is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2024.

The Argument

TikTok argues that the law is unconstitutional and violates its First Amendment rights. The company also argues that the law is based on unfounded concerns about the security of its data.

In its lawsuit, TikTok argues that the law is a "content-based restriction on speech" that is "presumptively invalid." The company also argues that the law is "not narrowly tailored" to its purported goal of protecting national security.

TikTok also argues that the law is based on "prejudice and stereotypes" about China. The company says that the law "is a thinly veiled attempt to discriminate against Chinese companies and their products."

The Implications

The case of TikTok vs. Montana is being closely watched by legal experts and tech companies. It could have implications for the future of social media in the United States.

If TikTok is successful in its lawsuit, it could set a precedent that would make it more difficult for states to ban social media apps. This could have a chilling effect on free speech and could make it more difficult for social media companies to operate in the United States.

On the other hand, if Montana is successful in its lawsuit, it could set a precedent that would allow states to ban social media apps that they believe are a threat to national security. This could lead to a patchwork of laws across the country, making it difficult for social media companies to operate.

The case is still in its early stages, and it is too early to say what the outcome will be. However, the case is likely to have a significant impact on the future of social media in the United States.

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