TikTok sued the state of Montana on Monday over the state’s recently enacted ban, which prohibits TikTok from operating within Montana.
The lawsuit alleges Montana’s ban violates the US Constitution’s First Amendment, which protects Americans’ right to free speech. TikTok claims Montana enacted the ban in response to “unfounded speculation” about a possible connection regarding the Chinese government’s access of private user data of those with accounts on TikTok. TikTok explains in the lawsuit that it holds all US user data in the US to prevent other countries from accessing it. This access to data was the subject of a hearing in March, where TikTok CEO Shou Chew testified in front of Congress regarding the app’s privacy and data security measures.
Another point of contention for TikTok is that it says it is the only social media company targeted by the ban. TikTok argues its app has the same challenges as other social media companies like Facebook and Instagram, and that Montana is unfairly targeting it based on mere speculation.
TikTok asks the federal court to to issue a declaratory judgment holding the TikTok ban unconstitutional and to enjoin the state from enforcing the ban.
Last week, Montana became the first state to ban TikTok, with the ban set to take effect on January 1, 2024. Shortly after the ban, Montanans who use TikTok also sued to stop the ban, claiming the law exceeds state power regarding national security and restricts speech.