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TikTok Sues Montana After State Move to Ban App

TikTok Shop lets users buy items while scrolling through an endless feed of short videos and livestreams within its main social media application.
TikTok sues Montana after state moved to ban app. (Shutterstock)

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

ByteDance-owned TikTok argues the ban, which would take effect on Jan. 1, violates First Amendment rights of the company and users. The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Montana, also argues the ban is pre-empted by federal law because it intrudes upon matters of exclusive federal concern and violates the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, which limits the authority of States to enact legislation that unduly burdens interstate and foreign commerce.

Montana is the first US state to attempt 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 argues the state “banishes TikTok, and just TikTok, from the State for purely punitive reasons, as evidenced by the State’s decision to single out Plaintiff for harsh penalties based on speculative concerns about TikTok’s data security and content moderation practices.”

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

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed legislation to ban TikTok in the state. The law makes it unlawful for TikTok to operate in the state and for the app stores of Alphabet Inc’s Google and Apple Inc to offer TikTok within Montana.

TikTok’s lawsuit names Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who is charged with enforcing the law. Knudsen’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

By Jasper Ward, David Shepardson and Paul Grant; Editors Eric Beech and Matthew Lewis

Learn more:

TikTok Creators Sue to Block Montana’s Ban on the Platform

A group of TikTok creators have sued to block Montana’s ban of the platform, arguing that the new law violates their first amendment rights.

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