UNITED STATES: On Monday, TikTok Inc. filed a lawsuit to challenge Montana’s recent ban on using the Chinese-owned app. Montana is the first state to forbid the use of the well-known short-video sharing service.
TikTok has filed a lawsuit in US District Court in Montana, claiming that the ban violates both the company and its users’ First Amendment rights and is pre-empted by federal law. The Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution limits states’ power to pass laws that unfairly burden interstate and international trade.
TikTok is owned by ByteDance in China, and US lawmakers and state officials are calling for it to be banned due to concerns about Chinese government influence.
Montana could fine TikTok $10,000 for each offence and $10,000 daily if it continues to break the law. Individual users of the app are not subject to legal sanctions.
The companies that operate TikTok and WeChat claimed the bans could have prohibited US use of the apps, but court rulings prevented them from going into effect. In 2020, former US President Donald Trump attempted to impose new download restrictions on the app.
Mark Warner, the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, believes Congress must enact legislation to provide the president with new authority to prohibit or limit foreign-owned apps due to the potential for federal courts to reverse Montana’s ban.
Montana is home to hundreds of thousands of TikTok users, and the business has taken steps to protect its privacy and security. In an effort to reverse the state’s ban, five app users from Montana filed a lawsuit in federal court.
Austin Knudsen, the attorney general of Montana, is tasked with upholding the legislation in TikTok’s case. His spokesman claims the state is prepared for legal action and is prepared to defend the law.
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