Influencers sue state of Montana after TikTok ban

Influencers sue state of Montana after TikTok ban


You take away my source of income for political reasons and I sue you: TikTok has been banned, for everyone, from Montana with a law countersigned by Governor Greg Gianforte last Wednesday. It is the first US state to extend the ban on downloading and using it on a general scale, although there are other countries in the world where the Chinese app is banned for everyone: they are theIndiawhere the block was triggered in 2020, and theAfghanistan.

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Montana’s new law, effective 2024

Returning to the US, according to the new law, app suppliers (Apple and Google, essentially) will have to make the application unavailable in Montana starting January 1, 2024, with fines of up to 10 thousand euros if they do not comply with the prescription. There is no penalty for users nor is it understood how such a prohibition can be enforcedespecially for those who have (or will have) the app before that date.

Be that as it may, a group of US influencers has filed a lawsuit to the State so as to be able to restore the ban strongly desired by the Republican Gianforte with the need to “protect private data and personal information of the citizens of Montana from the possibility that they are collected by the Chinese Communist Party”.

The cause of influencers

Among those who denounced there are names like Carly Ann Goddardwhich has almost 100,000 followers, e Alice Held (known as @mountainalice, 215 thousand), as well as others with less important consequences: they sued the state attorney general, Austin Knudsen, with basically predictable arguments. The prohibition, in their opinion and according to many, would be unconstitutional e would violate the First Amendment, the one that (among other things) guarantees freedom of thought, speech and press. It is the same position of the company, which through the spokesperson for America, Brooke Oberwetter, replied by explaining precisely that the law “violates the First Amendment”. A parallel lawsuit could also come from TikTok, triggering a complicated obstacle course for the new provision: “Montana cannot ban citizens from viewing or posting on TikTok more than what the Wall Street Journal can prohibit on the basis of the identity of its owner or the opinions it transmits” reads the appeal.

There is also a speech of legislative skillsgiven that for the signatories of the lawsuit, the local government would be trying to appropriate powers that would, if anything, belong to the federal one (and in fact TikTok in the US is prohibited on federal systems and devices) within which national security issues fall.

Countries where TikTok is banned (and who)

The fact remains that TikTok is at least partially banned in many countries around the world. In addition to India and Afghanistan, the blockades basically concern i devices owned by governments or governmental bodies. In Australia, the app cannot be installed on some government agency phones, in Belgium on federal employee phones, in Canada on all government phones. Again: in Denmark on the smartphones of the Ministry of Defense staff, in the European institutions on those of the employees of the European Parliament, Commission and Council and in France on the devices used for work by public officials. The list is closed by Latvia, where the platform must remain off the devices of the Foreign Ministry, New Zealand (only for members of Parliament), Norway, Taiwan and the United Kingdom, always on the phones of government officials and employees.

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The fears of Western governments

Of the slightly more than one billion active TikTok users globally, the majority can be found right in Europe and the United States. For years now, experts and representatives of various governments have feared that the application could function as a Trojan horse for China to spy on users, penetrate personality devices that could lead to the acquisition of data and confidential information or more simply to make a feast of endless lots of cheap data.

Just last March, for example, the New York Times revealed that the US Justice Department would have opened an investigation to understand whether the parent company of the social network, the Chinese ByteDance, has spied on a number of American journalists in recent years, some of which specialize in technology. On the part of the app there was no shortage, for example towards the European Union, a series of moves aimed at reassuring regulators and public opinion.

For TikTok, which formally works in the West through a California subsidiarytherefore it does not pull a good air: if the Montana ban will probably not have too long a life, Joe Biden himself recently invited ByteDance to sell its majority shares to US subjects and the mysterious Shou Chew, CEO of the group, was was heard in a hearing by members of the US Congress last March. Without too much success and with some embarrassmentto be honest.


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