TikTok: Montana becomes first US state to ban app on personal devices

  • By James Clayton and Annabelle Liang
  • BBC News

image source, Good pictures

Montana is set to become the first US state to ban Chinese-owned media giant TikTok from personal devices.

Governor Greg Gianforte signed the ban into law on Wednesday. It comes into force from 1st January.

The ban “violates the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana,” the video-sharing site says.

TikTok has come under scrutiny from authorities around the world over concerns that data could be sent to the Chinese government.

Mr. Gianforte, a Republican, told lawmakers that the broader ban was “our shared priority to protect Montanans from Chinese Communist Party surveillance.”

TikTok said in a statement that “hundreds of thousands of people” have used it in Montana.

“As we continue to work to protect the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana, we want to reassure Montanans that they can continue to use TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community,” it added.

TikTok is expected to challenge the law in the courts.

The law makes it illegal for app stores to offer TikTok, but does not ban existing TikTok users.

Montana, with a population of more than 1 million, banned the use on government devices last December.

TikTok is owned by ByteDance – a Chinese company. In March, a congressional panel grilled TikTok Chief Executive Shou Ji Shiu about whether the Chinese government could access user data or what impact Americans might have on the app.

Mr Shaw has repeatedly said he will not spy on Americans – despite admitting that staff used journalists’ TikTok accounts to obtain information about them.

Penalties apply to companies, but not to individual users. Companies that violate the law face fines of up to $10,000 (£8,012), which will be enforced by Montana’s Department of Justice.

This means tech giants like Apple and Google could be fined if they allow downloads of TikTok from their app stores in Montana.

TikTok’s owner, ByteDance, has repeatedly denied being controlled by the Chinese government.

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