United States, TikTok becomes illegal in Montana

The law will go into effect in January 2024 unless the social giant is sold to an American owner

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has signed a decree banning TikTok from operating in his state, the first case ever in the United States. The SB 419 law prohibits TikTok from exercising and expressly asks app stores to block the possibility of downloading the social network throughout Montana (just under two million inhabitants). Gianforte expressed his satisfaction with the incident on Twitter, writing: “In order to protect the citizens of Montana and prevent the Chinese Communist Party from obtaining their private data, I have banned TikTok from Montana”. The social medium, owned by the Chinese ByteDance, has been under close scrutiny for months in the States as it is not clear how the personal data of members is used by the company. The solution intimated to ByteDance to prevent TikTok from being banned from all of the USA is that the social network is sold to a US owner, and only if the latter possibility occurs will the law not come into force. There is time until January next year.

The law in question specifies that there are no penalties for users. But app distributors on digital stores risk fines of up to $10,000 a day, with an absolute ban on allowing TikTok downloads or access to social media. This is an unprecedented law in the history of the Internet in the United States, so much so that it has prompted some commentators to wonder whether it is actually legal for a state to be able to limit access to an online service in its restricted territory and without the possibility of appeal. The American industry association, NetChoice, called SB 419 “fundamentally against the constitution.” In the past, NetChoice has sued several governments that have sought to restrict or restrict free speech online.