Governor Greg Gianforte of Montana has officially enacted the most stringent regulations in the nation against TikTok, the Chinese-owned social media platform. With mounting pressure on TikTok from both Congress and state legislatures across the United States, Montana’s actions significantly intensify these concerns, although the matter of enforcement still remains uncertain.
Governor Gianforte declared, “Today, Montana is taking the most resolute step among all states to safeguard the private data and sensitive personal information of Montanans from being collected by the Chinese Communist Party.”
In a statement, Gianforte asserted that there is extensive evidence documenting TikTok’s data-sharing practices with the Chinese government. However, it’s important to note that public information about the app and its operations does not substantiate this claim.
Although there is no evidence to support the claim that TikTok or its parent company, ByteDance, have shared the app’s information with the Chinese government, TikTok did acknowledge a past incident where employees misused app data to track journalists’ locations. This incident has contributed to discussions and concerns regarding privacy issues surrounding the app.
Earlier this year, lawmakers in Montana introduced a bill to ban TikTok, sparking a contentious debate about the ban and other proposals aimed at restricting the app’s usage in the United States. While limitations on TikTok’s use on government devices and campus networks are already common, Montana’s ban aims to prevent app stores from distributing TikTok to users within the state.
However, the feasibility of implementing such a ban remains uncertain. Google and Apple are likely to oppose state-level laws that restrict app downloads within the U.S. to avoid dealing with the complexities of multiple state legislatures issuing their own bans on TikTok or other apps. Additionally, TikTok’s user base is likely to resist the ban, and the company has been mobilizing its enthusiastic users to oppose the Montana law.
There are many uncertainties regarding the outcome of this situation, but one thing is certain: Montana’s new law will likely face strong legal challenges in the months ahead. We will closely monitor the developments to see how everything unfolds.