Montana puts a stop to TikTok

Emre Çitak
May 18, 2023
Updated • May 18, 2023

Montana has made headlines as it takes a decisive step by becoming the first state in the United States to impose a complete ban on the popular social media platform, TikTok.

Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill into law that prohibits the use of TikTok within the state starting from January 1, 2024. This action, aimed at safeguarding Montanans' privacy and personal information, marks a significant development in the ongoing concerns surrounding the Chinese-owned app.

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See Governor Greg Gianforte's tweet on the TikTok Montana ban below.

Growing national security concerns about TikTok

TikTok's ban in Montana is a manifestation of the escalating apprehensions among U.S. authorities regarding the potential national security risks associated with the app. The concerns primarily stem from TikTok's ownership by ByteDance, a Beijing-based company, raising fears of potential interference by the Chinese government. Speculation persists that TikTok's user data, particularly that of American citizens, could be accessible to Chinese authorities, enabling them to manipulate the app's algorithm to serve pro-China content.

Governor Gianforte emphasized the urgency of protecting Montanans' private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party. By taking this firm stance, Montana sets a precedent, highlighting the state's commitment to safeguarding its residents from potential threats to national security.

The decision to ban TikTok in Montana not only adds weight to the existing bans on government-issued devices in several states but also amplifies the concerns regarding the app's influence. Governor Gianforte's firm action sends a clear message that protecting citizens' data is of utmost importance, necessitating drastic measures to ensure their privacy.

The ban and its implications

Under the new law, downloading TikTok within Montana's borders will be prohibited. App stores and even TikTok itself may face fines if they facilitate downloads within the state. Notably, individual users will not be penalized for using the app. However, the enforcement and effectiveness of the ban remain to be seen.

While Montana is the first state to take such a definitive step, the potential ripple effect on a national scale cannot be ignored. If other states follow Montana's lead in the coming months, it could pave the way for a nationwide ban on TikTok.

This, in turn, may prompt Apple and Google to remove the app from their U.S. app stores, signifying a significant setback for TikTok's presence in the United States.


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  1. Anonymous said on May 18, 2023 at 7:09 pm

    God bless Montana for protecting their teenagers from the scourge of Communist China.

    Said a politician or two with absolutely no knowledge of how tech actually works.

  2. B. Basil said on May 18, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    With a defense budget of around $858 billion (higher than the next 10 countries combined), some 750 military bases spread across 80 or more countries and an unrivaled surveillance/spy industry with tentacles all over the world, Uncle Sam, nevertheless, feels that the safety of the country is at risk! Can you believe it?

    In the minds of U.S. politicians, high-ranking military officers, academics, CEO’s of tech companies and journalists practically everything is a real or potential threat to national security. TikTok, being a Chinese developed app, obviously does not escape this rule. The senator from Montana is the latest to join in this buffoonery.

  3. just an Ed said on May 18, 2023 at 1:16 pm

    I fail to see how this can actually be enforced. Montana would need to actually be able to enforce ISP monitoring to make this viable. It’s political posturing at best.
    I would worry more about the mental health of the youth who use these types of services than I would be about Chinese data collection. The algorithms used by these “asocial” apps tend to reinforce behavior patterns regardless of whether the effects are positive or negative.
    Then again, I wonder about the mental health of a good number of the human race, so…. ;-)

  4. C. Rosenberg said on May 18, 2023 at 11:54 am

    The collection of personal data by social media platforms must be scrutinized. However, it’s not hard to realize that this ban is nothing more than another step towards razing a successful Chinese company to the ground.

    What interests China is not the personal data of TikTok users (who are mostly young people), but rather the threat posed by the U.S. 7th Fleet at its door steps, with 50-70 ships, 150 aircraft and 27,000 Sailors and Marines. That keeps the Chinese Communist Party very busy indeed.

  5. Boon said on May 18, 2023 at 9:58 am

    Could someone explain how this works, how can a state block this technically?

    1. Boon said on May 18, 2023 at 2:52 pm

      Let me clarify: If I am not in Montana I can install and use TikTok. HOW, if I set my foot in Montana, could I not install or use TikTok on my phone anymore? Is this more of a snitch-based technique? Someone sees TikTok on your phone, tells the cops and the cops come and shoot you in the face? Or will the cops now have rights to search everyone’s phone for TikTok or something..? I am confused, since TECH-WISE they can’t ban/block shit.

      1. M Harris said on May 19, 2023 at 1:23 am

        “That means Apple and Google, which operate app stores on Apple and Android devices, would be liable [$10,000 per day for each time someone accesses TikTok] for any violations. Penalties would not apply to users. […]

        “Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has pointed to technology used to restrict online sports gambling apps as a way to curtail TikTok from operating in the state. Those violations can be reported by anyone. And once the state verifies a breach has taken place, it sends a cease-and-desist letter to the company involved, said Kyler Nerison, a spokesperson for Knudsen’s office. He said different companies use different methods for compliance and it’s up to them ‘to not allow their apps to work in Montana and other states where they are not legal.'”

    2. D. Yajaira said on May 18, 2023 at 10:47 am

      Next step will be an outright extortion and appropriation of TikTok’s property, Al Capone style.

    3. Yash said on May 18, 2023 at 10:27 am

      American constitution is federal in nature, and so while federal government can pass laws, states still have power to create their own laws. Hence this TikTok ban. You can even add Ron De Santis nonsense in Florida or abortion laws as well to get a better understanding.

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