Lawmakers in Montana just made a move that sparked outrage from the Left and forced TikTok on the defensive

Photo by Nordskov Media, Public Domain via Flickr

The Chinese-owned social media app TikTok has taken the nation’s youth by storm.

Elected officials across the country are calling TikTok a major threat to national security.

And lawmakers in Montana just made a move that sparked outrage from the Left and forced TikTok on the defensive.

Montana will fine any organization $10,000 per day if they directly support the use of TikTok

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte recently took a major step towards protecting the people of his state against the Chinese-owned social media app TikTok.

He signed SB149, which will effectively ban all use of the app in Montana on January 1,  2024. 

The bill, which is specifically targeting TikTok, would hold any company that facilitates the app’s use liable for fines of up to $10,000 per day. That means if Apple or Google refuse to block downloads of the app in Montana, they could face hefty fines come January.

In a statement, Gianforte said the law is designed to “keep its citizens—and their personal, private, sensitive information, and data—safe and secure.” He added that the social media app infringes on the citizens’ “constitutionally guaranteed individual right to privacy.”

The move sparked outrage from the Left and TikTok quickly went on the defensive.

Individual states have no purview over “foreign affairs and national security” issues

TikTok filed a lawsuit claiming that the Montana law is a violation of First Amendment and arguing that the state was going outside of its bounds. They argued that they have the “constitutionally protected editorial judgment on whether, and how, to host, disseminate, and promote third-party speech.”

They said that the state has no business regulating the app. “Foreign affairs and national security are matters over which the U.S. Constitution vests exclusive authority in the federal government, not the states.”

“Montana’s bill isn’t about making users safe, it’s about unilaterally restricting the freedom of Montanans based on nothing more than fears and falsehoods,” TikTok wrote in statement, before adding that “no government, as far as we know, has ever told Americans what they can or can’t download from an app store.”

Activist groups also took the opportunity to defend TikTok from Gianforte’s actions.

ACLU claims the law was inspired by “anti-Chinese sentiment” and “tramples” on free speech

The technology trade group Net Choice issued a statement in support of TikTok. They said “the government may not block our ability to access constitutionally protected speech—whether it is in a newspaper, on a website or via an app.” They said the state is ignoring “due process and free speech.”

The ACLU claimed that the move was done “in the name of anti-Chinese sentiment,” before adding that “Governor Gianforte and the Montana legislature have trampled on the free speech of hundreds of thousands of Montanans who use the app to express themselves, gather information, and run their small business.” 

The office of the Montana Attorney General responded to the public outcry by noting that “the Chinese Communist Party is using TikTok as a tool to spy on Americans by collecting personal information, keystrokes, and even the location of its users.”

He added that this affects everyone, regardless of whether or not they use the app.

Patriot Political will keep you up-to-date on any developments to this ongoing story.