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In this photo illustration, a crossed-out TikTok logo is seen on a smartphone and flag of the state of Montana on a pc screen.
Photo credit: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

TikTok Responds to Montana Ban With Lawsuit

TikTok Inc has filed a lawsuit against the state of Montana over implementing a new law which bans the app by targeting app stores with substantial fines for making it available in the state.

TikTok is hitting back against the state of Montana. The company has filed a lawsuit against the state for passing a law last week that bans the app’s usage and downloads within state borders. Filed on Monday (May 22) in the United States District Court for the District of Montana, the lawsuit intends to reverse the law.

“Montana’s ban abridges freedom of speech in violation of the First Amendment, violates the U.S. Constitution in multiple other respects, and is preempted by federal law,” lawyers for the app’s parent company, ByteDance, said in a statement.

Montana has become the first U.S. state to ban the popular video app over allegations that the Chinese government is using the service for intelligence-gathering purposes. Montana’s law goes into effect on January 1, 2024, and Apple and Google app stores will be unable to legally offer the downloadable service to users in Montana.

TikTok has disputed Montana’s allegations that the Chinese government “could access data about TikTok users, and that TikTok exposes minors to harmful online content,” per the lawsuit.

“Yet the State cites nothing to support these allegations, and the State’s bare speculation ignores the reality that Plaintiff has not shared, and would not share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government, and has taken substantial measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users, including by storing all U.S. user data by default in the United States and by erecting safeguards to protect U.S. user data,” the attorneys added.

TikTok hopes that the court finds Montana’s statewide app ban “unconstitutional and preempted by federal law.”