Business News Digital Legal

TikTok creators file lawsuit challenging app’s ban in Montana

By | Published on Monday 22 May 2023


Five TikTok creators in Montana have filed a lawsuit against a new law that bans the distribution and downloading of the video-sharing app within the US state. Among other things, they argue, the new law violates the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Lawmakers in Montana passed the TikTok ban last month, with state Governor Greg Gianforte then signing it into law last week. It’s due to come into effect at the start of next year.

The ban is a response to ongoing concerns in the political community that the Chinese government has access to TikTok user-data via the app’s China-based owner Bytedance.

After signing the ban into law, Gianforte tweeted: “To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana”.

In response TikTok – which insists there are no data security issues on its platform – said: “Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state”.

The five Montana-based TikTok creators who filed a lawsuit with a federal court in the US state last week are seeking to test that claim. According to Reuters, their lawsuit says that, with the TikTok ban, the state is seeking to “exercise powers over national security that Montana does not have and to ban speech Montana may not suppress”.

The lawsuit names the state’s Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who is tasked with enforcing the new ban. His spokesperson told reporters: “We expected a legal challenge and are fully prepared to defend the law”.