Montana House of Representatives Passes TikTok Ban

On April 14, 2023. Montana became the first state to prohibit TikTok from being used on all devices in the state. Most other TikTok bans passed in state legislatures only covered devices that governments owned. 

The Montana State House passed SB 419, which was passed in the State Senate. Now, the bill awaits a signature from Governor Greg Giag Gianforte. 

The bill prohibits TikTok from operating “within the territorial jurisdiction of Montana” due to allegations that the app can be used by the Chinese government to conduct espionage operations on Americans.

Entities who violate the law could be subjected to daily fines of up to $10,000. Specifically, the fines apply to entities that download TikTok, not users.

“TikTok endangers the safety of Montanans and Americans at large,” declared State Senator Shelley Vance, one of the bill’s author. “We know that beyond a doubt that TikTok’s parent company ByteDance is operating as a surveillance arm of the Chinese Communist Party and gathers information about Americans against their will.”

The bill is set to go into effect in January 2024. 

A spokesperson for TikTok stated, “We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach.”

Other states could follow in Montana’s footsteps by enacting similar prohibitions.

The banning of TikTok and other measures to economically decouple from China are much more sound ways of dealing with Chinese influence as opposed to pursuing a military confrontation with it. Policymakers should do everything possible to restrict immigration and economically decouple from China. 

This is the most stable way of confronting China.

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