TikTok sues Montana after state move to ban app

ByteDance company says the ban breaches US First Amendment rights

TikTok company offices in Culver City, California. AFP
Powered by automated translation

TikTok on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging the state of Montana's new ban on the use of the Chinese-owned short-video app.

ByteDance-owned TikTok says the ban, which would take effect on January 1, breaches First Amendment rights of the company and users.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Montana, also says the ban is pre-empted by federal law because it intrudes on matters of exclusive federal concern and breaches the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution.

That clause limits the authority of states to enact legislation that unduly burdens interstate and foreign commerce.

Montana is the first US state to try to ban TikTok.

Former president Donald Trump in 2020 sought to bar new downloads of TikTok and Chinese-owned WeChat and other transactions, which the companies said would have effectively barred use of the apps.

But a series of court decisions blocked the bans from taking effect.

The company also says that Montana "banishes TikTok, and just TikTok, from the state for purely punitive reasons, as evidenced by the state’s decision to single out the plaintiff for harsh penalties based on speculative concerns about TikTok’s data security and content moderation practices".

Last week, five TikTok users in Montana who create content on the short-video app filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block the state's ban.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation to ban TikTok, making it unlawful for the company to operate in the state and for the app stores of Alphabet's Google and Apple to offer it.

TikTok influencers take stock as US ban looms

TikTok influencers take stock as US ban looms
Updated: May 22, 2023, 9:53 PM