Montana Legislation Bans TikTok


Popular video social media app, TikTok, banned statewide.

Montana has become the first state to place a complete ban on TikTok. As of May 17, 2023, Governor Gianforte released news of the ban that will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. Gianforte has been pushing for a total ban since his initial restriction on public Montana university campuses in February. 

The afternoon of May 17, Gianforte tweeted, “To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana”. While concern has been circling for a while, there has been no evidence that the Chinese government has accessed or used data from users.

The concerns arise because of Tik Tok parent company, ByteDance, which is based in China.

Gianforte stated that he intends to continue banning apps associated with other governments. “TikTok is just one app tied to foreign adversaries. Today I directed the state’s Chief Information Officer to ban any application that provides personal information or data to foreign adversaries from the state network,” said Gianforte in a Twitter statement. 

Although there has been conversation surrounding the topic of banning apps, Montana is the first state to fully do so. There has been pushback against the ban with claims saying that it is in violation of free speech amendments. 

The ban includes a $10,000 fine to any app provider that would allow a user to download the app, such as the Apple iTunes Store. Due to this, TikTok has filed a lawsuit against the state of Montana for a violation of the first amendment. Though the fine will apply to any app store allowing users to buy and access the apps, the fine will not impact users themselves.

Although Montana is the first state to implement a complete ban of the app, the restrictions on TikTok have been growing across the country in recent years. Over half of states have placed bans for state and federal employees and the numbers are quickly increasing. 

The intersection of social media and government policy is a growing topic amongst lawmakers nationwide. TikTok has pushed back against restrictions on the app, however states are continuing to tighten their hold on the way foreign apps are used.