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Judge blocks Montana TikTok ban from taking effect Jan. 1

Dec 01, 2023

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On Thursday, Nov. 1, a federal judge blocked Montana’s ban on the Chinese-owned social media platform TikTok for violating users’ rights to free speech. In a preliminary injunction, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said the state’s attempt to implement a first-of-its-kind statewide ban on the app “violates the constitution in more ways than one.”

Judge Molloy added that the ban oversteps Montana’s power as it tried to exercise foreign policy which falls under the authority of the federal government. The ban overall, Molloy ruled, was too sweeping.

After Montana passed the ban In April over concerns about China’s access to personal data, ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, and several TikTok users in Montana filed lawsuits against the state. TikTok said in court filings that it has not and would not share user data with China, and the company has taken substantial measures to ensure user privacy.

Under the ban, Montana could have issued a $10,000 fine to app stores or TikTok every time someone “is offered the ability” to download or access the app, but no punishments for users were included in the ban.

Following the ruling, the Montana attorney general’s office defended the state’s ban, adding that the ruling is preliminary and that “the analysis could change as the case proceeds.” A spokesperson for AG’s office is considering next steps, as the ban was slated to go into effect on Jan. 1.

While other states and the federal government have imposed bans of TikTok on government-owned devices, Montana is the only state to seek a complete ban of the apps use.

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ON THURSDAY A FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKED MONTANA’S BAN ON TIK TOK FROM TAKING EFFECT NEXT MONTH — SAYING IT VIOLATES FREE SPEECH RIGHTS.

THE JUDGE IN THE CASE SAID THE STATE’S ATTEMPT TO IMPLEMENT A FIRST-OF-ITS KIND STATEWIDE BAN ON THE THE CHINESE-OWNED SOCIAL MEDIA APP “VIOLATES THE CONSTITUTION IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE.”

AFTER MONTANA PASSED THE BAN IN APRIL OVER CONCERNS OF CHINA’S ACCESS TO PERSONAL DATA —

TIKTOK’S PARENT COMPANY “BYTE-DANCE” – — AS WELL AS SEVERAL TIKTOK USERS — FILED LAWSUITS AGAINST THE STATE.

TIKTOK SAID IN COURT FILINGS THAT IT HAS NOT AND WOULD NOT SHARE USER DATA WITH CHINA AND THE COMPANY HAS TAKEN SUBSTANTIAL MEASURES TO ENSURE USER PRIVACY.

MONTANA’S ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE DEFENDED THE STATE’S BAN ADDING THAT THURSDAY’S RULING IS PRELIMINARY.