Montana may be first state to ban TikTok

Montana lawmakers are considering a proposal to ban TikTok from operating in the state, which would make Montana the first state in the US to do so. The proposed ban is supported by the state's GOP-controlled legislature and is more sweeping than bans in place in nearly half the states and the US federal government that prohibit TikTok on government devices. The bill would prohibit downloads of TikTok in the state, but any penalties would not apply to users. Under the bill, any "entity" - an app store or TikTok - that violates the law would be liable for $10,000 for each violation. The bill would not ban other social media apps that collect similar types of data from their users. Supporters of the ban point to two Chinese laws that compel companies in the country to cooperate with the government on state intelligence work. They also point out other troubling episodes, such as a disclosure by ByteDance in December that it fired four employees who accessed the IP addresses and other data of two journalists while attempting to uncover the source of a leaked report about the company. TikTok, which is owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been under intense scrutiny over concerns it could hand over user data to the Chinese government or push pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation on the forum. The company has been pushing back against the bill and has encouraged users in the state to speak out against the bill and hired lobbyists to do so as well. It has also purchased billboards, run full-page newspaper ads, and has a website opposing Montana’s legislation.


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