TikTok sues Montana for alleged violation of First Amendment rights over app ban

TikTok has taken legal action against the state of Montana after Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill banning the popular short-form video app from Jan. 1, 2024.

In a statement posted on Twitter, TikTok expressed its determination to challenge the “unconstitutional TikTok ban” in order to safeguard its business and the hundreds of thousands of users in Montana.

“We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts,” TikTok said Monday (May 22). 

The lawsuit was filed the same day, less than a week after five TikTok creators in Montana sued the state as they sought to reverse the ban.

TikTok’s legal case, similar to the creators’ lawsuit, argues that the new law violates the US Constitution, including the First Amendment. The latest case was also filed against the office of Montana’s Attorney-General Austin Knudsen.

Governor Gianforte signed the bill into law on May 17, restricting downloads of the app and imposing a daily penalty of $10,000 daily for app stores that provide access to TikTok.

“The state has enacted these extraordinary and unprecedented measures based on nothing more than unfounded speculation.”


In response to the ban, TikTok asserted that the state’s measures are “unfounded”.

“The state has enacted these extraordinary and unprecedented measures based on nothing more than unfounded speculation,” TikTok said in the lawsuit.

The Montana governor, after signing the law last week, stressed that the action was taken to protect users’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party.

“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” Gianforte said after signing the bill.

TikTok countered these allegations by asserting that Montana’s claims lack supporting evidence and that the company has not and will not share US user data with the Chinese government. It highlighted its efforts to protect user privacy, including the implementation of Project Texas, a $1.5 billion initiative segregating US user data on Oracle servers in Texas.

In its legal battle, TikTok seeks to have the court invalidate the ban and permanently prevent Montana from enforcing it. 

In addition to implementing Project Texas, TikTok has invested substantial funds in lobbying the US government to maintain the app’s availability in the country.

TikTok CEO Shou Chew previously stated that the platform has amassed 150 million users in the US, representing nearly half of the nation’s population.

“We do not believe that a ban that hurts American small businesses, damages the country’s economy, silences the voices of over 150 million Americans, and reduces competition in an increasingly concentrated market is the solution to a solvable problem,” Chew told lawmakers in March. 

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