Five TikTokers are ready to go head to head with the state of Montana over a forthcoming ban of the video app.
On Wednesday, the creators filed a lawsuit in a Helena courthouse challenging the state’s outlawing of TikTok, which has ballooned in popularity over the past few years. The creators are arguing that prohibiting the site infringes on users’ First Amendment rights. The ban is slated to take effect on January 1st, 2024.
The government, both on a state and federal level, has raised concerns for a while over whether or not TikTok is being used to help China spy on the U.S. It has long been believed that the Chinese government wants to access user information so that propaganda can be pushed. Montana has led the movement against preventing this by becoming the first state to implement a total prohibition. Republican Governor Greg Gianforte has long been a supporter of getting rid of TikTok. However, cybersecurity experts have pointed out that enforcement of TikTok laws may be difficult.
“It’s not clear how they keep people from using an app that they already have on their phone,” a government researcher Darrell West told The Hill.
Keegan Medrano, policy director for the American Civil Liberties of Montana, also supports lawsuits that challenge the ban, which he says “trampled” on the free speech of Montanans who turn to the app to express themselves. TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter agrees and hopes that Montana residents will be given a chance to continue enjoying the app, which is a melting pot of creators specializing in beauty, true crime, music, dance, life hacks, and just about every other subject matter. However, Oberwetter would not comment on whether or not the company will file its own lawsuit.
Under Montana’s new law, TikTok will be penalized for operating the app in the state. App store providers such as Google and Apple will also be fined if TikTok is available for download in Montana.