Montana banned TikTok and creators within the state are fighting back.
Last week, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed SB 419 into law, a bill that bans TikTok in the state. It follows a ban prohibiting the use of TikTok on government devices in Montana, a far less controversial ruling that many other states and countries have also implemented. This law is by far the most aggressive and brutal TikTok ban to date in the U.S.
The ban will go into effect on January 1, 2024, unless the court stops it — which is exactly what some creators on the app are trying to do.
What does Montana’s TikTok ban actually mean?
A group of TikTok users(opens in a new tab) are suing Montana’s ban(opens in a new tab) alleging that it violates Montanan’s First Amendment rights by not allowing state residents to participate in a forum for sharing and receiving speech — an argument other organizations like The Knight Institute have also made(opens in a new tab). The lawsuit also says(opens in a new tab) that the ban violates the Commerce Clause because it restricts interstate commerce. After all, you can’t shop or sell on TikTok if you can’t use TikTok.
“Montana’s claimed interests in SB 419 are not legitimate and do not support a blanket ban on TikTok,” the suit reads. “Montana has no authority to enact laws advancing what it believes should be the United States’ foreign policy or its national security interests, nor may Montana ban an entire forum for communication based on its perceptions that some speech shared through that forum, though protected by the First Amendment, is dangerous. 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.”
This lawsuit is the first challenge to the ban legally, but these creators probably won’t be the only ones taking TikTok to court.