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TikTok logo.
TikTok logo.

TikTok Banned in Montana, Carries Fines up to $10K a Day

Montana has officially become the first U.S. state to ban TikTok after Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law on Wednesday.

The United States might see a crackdown on the use of TikTok. On Wednesday (May 17), Montana became the first U.S. state to ban the app after Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the bill into law, according to CNN. Gianforte tweeted that the ban is “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”

The debated law is the latest step by a state government to restrict TikTok over allegations of security concerns, and some federal lawmakers are encouraging a national ban of the app. The bill, known as SB419, will take effect next January, prohibiting app usage within state lines. The law also highlights potential fines of $10,000 per day for violators.

However, a total ban could be difficult to enforce. While the bill aims to prohibit app stores like Apple and Google from hosting the app, there are many ways that users could circumvent such a limitation. Users could make use of a VPN service that re-routes their location-based data, or set up accounts through pre-paid cards or rented mailboxes.

The law comes as TikTok continues to face growing concerns about its connection to China, as it’s owned by China-based company ByteDance. U.S. officials have publicly expressed fears of the Chinese government potentially using the app to access the country’s data for spying purposes, although there’s been no credible evidence.

A statement from TikTok provided to CNN shows that the social media company is willing to defend the rights of users in Montana.

“Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state. We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.”