In the United States, the war against TikTok reached a new stage on Wednesday. The governor of Montana has signed into law the law that bans the app in the US state, marking the beginning of a likely legal battle all the way to Washington, where Congress plans to ban the popular app nationwide.
"To protect users' personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana," tweeted Greg Gianforte, the Republican governor of the northwestern state, which has a population of just over a million. TikTok is owned by China's ByteDance, and many U.S. lawmakers believe the short, entertaining video platform, frequented by 150 million Americans, allows Beijing to spy on and manipulate users. The app has always denied it.
Users will not be worried
The Montana legislature had adopted in mid-April a text that orders mobile application stores (Apple and Google) to no longer distribute TikTok from January 1, 2024. Affected companies risk fines of $10,000 per day for each violation, but users won't be worried.
This law "violates the rights of Montana citizens" in terms of freedom of expression, responded a spokeswoman for TikTok Wednesday, referring to the First Amendment of the US Constitution. "The constitutionality of this text will be decided in the courts. We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana," she said before the vote.
Montana accused of censorship
In addition to the issue of data and misinformation, elected officials blame TikTok for harmful effects on the health of the youngest (addiction, depression). Some Democratic representatives, however, have retorted that other social networks, such as Instagram, deserve to be regulated on all these subjects.
The powerful civil rights group ACLU has also accused the state of censorship. "With this ban, Governor Gianforte and the Montana legislature are trampling on the freedom of expression of hundreds of thousands of Montana residents who use this app to express themselves, find information and promote their small businesses, in the name of anti-Chinese sentiment," Keegan Medrano, an official with the local branch of the ACLU, said Wednesday.
However, the law would be invalidated if the application were to be bought by a US company or from a country not an enemy of the United States. The White House has encouraged TikTok to look for this type of solution if it wants to be able to stay in the country.
- Social Media