Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill banning TikTok from the state into law on Wednesday, making Montana the first state within the US to ban the popular social media app. The new law expands upon a December 2022 ban within the state, which prohibited any Montana government employees from using TikTok.
In signing the law, Gianforte said:
The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented. Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.
The law prohibits TikTok from operating within the state of Montana. Under the law, users are not permitted to use TikTok or download the app. Any entity found in violation of the law faces a $10,000 fine for each violation, with an additional $10,000 added for every day that the violation continues. The law, however, does not apply those penalties to individual users of tiktok. Rather, the law is aimed at “entities,” which are defined as mobile application stores–like Apple’s App Store–or TikTok, itself.
The ban comes amid increased scrutiny over TikTok’s parent company ByteDance and their handling of users’ information. TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified before a congressional committee in March where Chew failed to quell lawmaker’s growing concerns. While the US has not yet issued a nation-wide ban, other countries have, such as Afghanistan, India and Taiwan. Other countries have banned the app from government-issued devices, including countries such as Australia and Canada, as well as the EU.
In Montana, the new law goes into effect beginning on January 1, 2024.