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Montana Governor Greg Gianforte Bans TIkTok Free Speech

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte Bans TIkTok Free Speech

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed a legislation on Wednesday prohibiting Chinese owned TiKTok from operating in the state in order to safeguard people from suspected Chinese intelligence gathering, turning Montana the first US state to do so.

Montana will make it illegal for Google and Apple’s stores to sell TIkTok in the state but will not penalize users who use its app.

However this prohibition is set to go into legal on January 1 2024 and it’s almost guaranteed to encounter judicial objections according to Reuters.

TikTok previously made a statement claiming that the new legislation infringes on the first amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok and promising to continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.

Meanwhile TIkTok which has over 150 million users has received increasing requests from politicians and state authorities in the United States to ban the app state wide due to fears about potential Chinese government control over the platform.

However the American Civil Liberties Union called the measure unconstitutional noting that it will take effect on January 1 if the courts don’t intervene.

“ With this ban, Governor Greg Gianforte and the Montana legislature have trampled on the free speech of hundreds of thousands of Montanans who use the app to express themselves, gather information and run their small business in the name of anti Chinese sentiment,” Keegan Medrano policy director at the ACLU of Montana said in a statement.

Several Democratic members of Congress including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and first Amendment organisations such as the American Civil Liberties Union are among TikTok’s free speech supporters.

The app has grown quite popular among teenagers and according to the pew research center, 67 per cent of 13-to 17 years old in the United States use TikTok while 16 percent of all adolescents use the app fairly daily.

TikTok claims that the vast majority of its users are over the age of 18.

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