TikTok Takes Legal Measures To Oppose Montana’s Ban

TikTok announced on Monday that it had filed a lawsuit to overturn Montana’s statewide ban on the popular video-sharing app.

“We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana,” TikTok said. “Based on a powerful set of precedents and facts, we believe our legal challenge will prevail.”

On May 17, Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the state prohibition into law. If the ban is upheld in court, it will take effect on January 1, 2024.

TikTok isn’t the only company suing to overturn the prohibition. According to Reuters, five TikTok users have already filed a lawsuit against the state to overturn the rule.

Companies like Apple (AAPL) and Google (GOOG, GOOGL) would be held accountable if they made TikTok available in the state. Each violation would pay the companies $10,000 per user plus another $10,000 each day the software is active.

TikTok Takes Legal Measures To Oppose Montana's Ban

TikTok puts out four main reasons why it believes the prohibition should be lifted in an email announcing the lawsuit: Concerns include the First Amendment, federal preemption of state laws, the Commerce Clause of the Constitution, and the fact that the bill mainly targets TikTok rather than social media businesses in general.

TikTok contends that the action violates the First Amendment by restricting the firm and its users from using the app and closing down a free expression platform.

Concerning federal preemption, the corporation claims the prohibition is based on Montana’s national security concerns. As a result, it declares that Montana cannot pass the ban since national security is the federal government’s responsibility.

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TikTok further alleges that the prohibition violates the business Clause of the Constitution because it “risks disrupting the flow of travel and commerce between states.”

First Amendment scholars have stated that the prohibition violates TikTok’s and users’ free expression rights.

“The ban is a dramatic and unconstitutional infringement on Montanans’ First Amendment rights,” Ramya Krishnan, staff attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute and law lecturer at Columbia Law School, told Yahoo Finance.

“To justify the ban, Montana must demonstrate that it is required to prevent actual harms.” And it has not done so.”

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Gianforte stated following the bill’s signing that the Chinese Communist Party uses TikTok to “spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect personal, private, and sensitive information.”

However, David Greene, civil liberties director and senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the law is simply too broad.

“As a restriction on how Montanans speak and receive speech, the state will need to justify this law as an appropriately narrow and effective way of protecting Montanans’ personal data.” That will be difficult.”

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