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TikTok Sues US state Of Montana After State Bans App

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TikTok Sues US state Of Montana After State Bans App

(CTN News) – On Monday, Chinese-owned short-video sharing website TikTok was the first state to ban its use, prompting a legal challenge from TikTok Inc.

The firm claims the prohibition, which would take effect on January 1, violates its and its users’ First Amendment rights.

TikTok Argues Montana’s Ban Violates First Amendment Rights in Lawsuit

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Montana, argues that federal law preempts the ban because it interferes with matters of exclusive federal concern and violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which limits the authority of States to enact legislation that unduly burdens interstate and foreign commerce.

Concerns over possible Chinese government influence over TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance and used by more than 150 million Americans, have led to calls for a nationwide ban on the app.

TikTok faces potential $10,000 fines per infringement in Montana and daily fines of $10,000. Users of TikTok are not subject to legal repercussions. It’s unclear how a ban on TikTok would be implemented in Montana.

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In 2020, then-President Trump attempted to prohibit new downloads of TikTok and Chinese-owned WeChat, a unit of Tencent (0700. HK), and related transactions, which the companies claimed could have effectively prohibited U.S. use of the apps. However, a series of court decisions prevented the bans from taking effect.

With federal courts likely to invalidate Montana’s ban, Mark Warner, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, argued that it was more important than ever for Congress to enact the legislation he presented to give the president broad authority to ban or limit TikTok and other foreign-owned applications.

TikTok Fights Montana’s Ban, Citing Commerce Clause and First Amendment

In a state with a population of around 1.1 million people, TikTok claims that there are hundreds of thousands of active users.

“has not shared, and would not share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government,” the business claims in its lawsuit, adding that it has “taken substantial measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users.”

Five Montana TikTok users petitioned a federal court last week to overturn the state’s ban.

TikTok has filed a lawsuit against the state of Montana and its Attorney General, Austin Knudsen. We contacted Knudsen’s office on Monday for comment but didn’t hear back immediately.

Knudsen’s spokeswoman Emily Flower said the state was prepared for legal action. “We expected legal challenges and are fully prepared to defend the law that helps protect Montanans’ privacy and security,” she said on Monday.

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