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Will TikTok finally be banned in Montana starting in 2024?

TikTok users will be able to continue sharing videos on the popular app in Montana, for now, after a federal judge ruled the state’s ban unconstitutional.

Update:
Montana’s TikTok ban put on hold

A federal judge halted a first-in-the-nation ban on the popular video-sharing app TikTok approved by Montana lawmakers and signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte in May. ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, had sued the state to stop the law from going into effect 1 January 2024 arguing that it violates the First Amendment free speech rights of the company and users.

US District Judge Donald Molloy issued a preliminary injunction blocking the state’s ban agreeing with the plaintiff saying it “violates the Constitution in more ways than one” and “oversteps state power.” For its part, a spokesman for the Montana state attorney general’s office pointed out that the ruling was preliminary and as the case proceeds “the analysis could change.”

Will TikTok finally be banned in Montana starting in 2024?

The US government, like several other nations, bars TikTok on government devices as well as many states across the US, but Montana is seeking to completely ban use of the app within its borders. The impetus behind these measures stem from concerns about the owner of app collecting personal data from users and sharing it with the Chinese government.

In court filings, TikTok has said that it “has not shared, and would not share, US user data with the Chinese government, and has taken substantial measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users.” Judge Molloy singled out the state for its fixation on alleged Chinese influence in its legal case and legislation noting “the pervasive undertone of anti-Chinese sentiment.”

He found the law unconstitutional not only for infringing on the Constitutional right of users and businesses but also for overstepping state power in the matter, saying Montana sought to exercise foreign policy authority held by the federal government.

For the time being the ban has been blocked but a final ruling will come at a later date once the legal challenges move through the courts.

Rules