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TikTok sues Montana over controversial new law banning app in state

Last week, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation banning TikTok in the state. Now the company is fighting back with a lawsuit that aims to keep the app available to Montanans.

In the complaint, TikTok argues that Montana’s ban violates the Constitution by limiting the company’s right to host and distribute user-generated content. TikTok also argues that Montana is overstepping its role by attempting to legislate national security matters rather than defer to federal regulators, placing an undue burden on its ability to conduct interstate affairs in the process.

TikTok is asking the court for an injunction to block Montana’s ban, which, if granted, would allow the app to conduct business as usual in the state while the courts resolve relevant issues.

“We challenge Montana’s unconstitutional ban on TikTok to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana,” TikTok spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter told TechCrunch. “We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an extremely strong body of precedent and facts.”

TikTok has faced increasing pressure in the United States from Congress and state legislatures in recent months. But Montana’s ban dramatically escalates those threats, though it’s unclear how a state-level ban on a specific app might be enforced.

“Montana today is taking the most decisive action of any state to protect the private data and sensitive personal information of Montanese from collection by the Chinese Communist Party,” Gianforte said last week, alluding to unsubstantiated claims that the app shares data with the Chinese government. .

Last week, five TikTok creators filed their own lawsuit against the state, similarly arguing that Montana’s ban violates the First Amendment. “The law takes the broadest possible approach to its goals, restricting and prohibiting protected speech by all TikTok users in Montana to prevent the speculative and unsubstantiated possibility that the Chinese government will order TikTok Inc., or its parent company, to spy on some Montana. users,” the creators explained.

This story develops…

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