United States, influencers sue Montana against TikTok ban

In court to overturn Montana governor’s decision to ban TikTok in the state. A group of US influencers has filed a lawsuit to change Republican Greg Gianforte’s new ban on the Chinese-developed social media platform. A provision motivated by the need to “protect private data and personal information of the citizens of Montana from the possibility that they are collected by the Communist Party of China”.

The cause

Samantha Alario, Heather DiRocco, Alice Held, Carly Ann Goddard and Dale Scout have sued the state attorney general, Austin Knudsen, arguing that the ban is unconstitutional and violates the first amendment, which guarantees freedom of thought, speech and press. “Montana can no more prohibit its citizens from viewing or posting on TikTok than it can prohibit the Wall Street Journal based on the identity of its owner or the opinions it broadcasts,” the appeal reads. The signatories to the lawsuit respond that the state is violating the right to freedom of expression and is attempting to arrogate the powers of the federal government, which has jurisdiction over national security. According to the litigation document, the plaintiffs have a substantial number of TikTok followers and are making money from the app.

The notice

The governor of Montana, the Republican Greg Gianforte, on Wednesday signed a law banning the use of the application owned by the Chinese company ByteDance considered a threat to national security. TikTok (which has more than a billion users worldwide and is widely used in the United States and Europe) has already been banned on government-issued devices in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and the United States due to cyber security issues. Montana became the first US state to restrict the popular social media platform. The ban requires app providers, such as Google and Apple, to stop making it available on their online stores, with fines of up to €10,000 if they don’t. There are no sanctions for users, nor has it been explained how the law will be applied with regard to apps downloaded before January 1, 2024.