Five TikTok video creators in Montana have filed a suit to overturn the state’s recent prohibition on the Chinese-owned website.
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed the law on Wednesday prohibiting the use of TikTok in the state beginning in 2024.
The five users are attempting to overturn the regulation, which makes it illegal for Alphabet’s Google and Apple’s app stores to distribute TikTok within the state.
According to TikTok users, the state is attempting to “exercise powers over national security that Montana does not have and to ban speech that Montana may not suppress.”
According to the lawsuit, users feel the law violates their First Amendment rights.
“Montana can no more ban its residents from viewing or posting to TikTok than it could ban the Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes,” the lawsuit said.
Knudsen spokeswoman Emily Flower said the state was prepared to face legal action. “We expected a legal challenge and are fully prepared to defend the law,” she explained.
TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, has come under increasing pressure from US lawmakers and state officials to ban the app worldwide, citing concerns about potential Chinese government influence over the site.
The five plaintiffs, all Montana residents, are; a designer of sustainable swimwear who uses TikTok to promote her company, a former US Marine Corps sergeant who uses TikTok to connect with other veterans; a rancher who makes use of TikTok to share content about her outdoor adventures; a student studying applied human physiology who shares content about her outdoor adventures; and a man who shares humorous videos on TikTok.
Following the governor’s signing of the bill on Wednesday, Knudsen, a Republican like Gianforte, labelled TikTok “a Chinese Communist Party spying tool that poses a threat to every Montanan.”
TikTok could face fines of $10,000 per day if it violates the restriction in Montana, which has a population of slightly more than 1 million people.