TikTok hits Montana with federal lawsuit in attempt to dissolve ban

Home » TikTok hits Montana with federal lawsuit in attempt to dissolve ban
TikTok banned, fined, and members of Congress under pressure

Montana became the first US state to officially ban TikTok last week with the bill set to go into effect beginning January 2024. Now TikTok has swung back by filing a federal lawsuit against the state in an attempt to reverse the move.

Reported by CNBC, TikTok filed the suit in the US District Court for the District of Montana today. The social media platform alleges the state ban violates the First Amendment along with other parts of the US Constitution.

Here’s what TikTok says in the opening of its lawsuit against Montana:

This action seeks to prevent the State of Montana from unlawfully banning TikTok, a short-form video sharing platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of users in Montana to communicate and express themselves, primarily through creating, sharing, and interacting with short-form videos on topics “as diverse as human thought.” Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 870 (1997). Montana’s ban abridges freedom of speech in violation of the First Amendment, violates the U.S. Constitution in multiple other respects, and is preempted by federal law.

As for concerns about China accessing the TikTok data of Americans, TikTok says Montana has not provided evidence of the claims and is acting on “unfounded speculation”:

The State has enacted these extraordinary and unprecedented measures based on nothing more than unfounded speculation. Specifically, the State claims that the government of the People’s Republic of China (“China*) could access data about TikTok users, and that TikTok exposes minors to harmful online content. Yet the State cites nothing to support these allegations, and the State’s bare speculation ignores the reality that Plaintiff has not shared, and would not share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government, and has taken substantial
measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users, including by storing all U.S. user data by default in the United States and by erecting safeguards to protect U.S. user data. TikTok has also implemented safeguards to foster a safe environment for all users, including teens.

In section 8 of the lawsuit, TikTok asks for “a declaratory judgment and order invalidating and preliminarily and permanently enjoining Defendant from enforcing the TikTok Ban.”

It bases that request on its interpretation of:

  • The First Amendment
  • Federal Preemption
  • Commerce Clause
  • Bill of Attainder

A tricky part about Montana’s ban is that TikTok and Apple/Google would be responsible to pay the $10,000 per violation fine with enforcement details not ironed out.

We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out. You can check out the full lawsuit shared via NPR.

What do you think about all of this? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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