House Bill 419 just needs a signature from Republican Governor Greg Gianforte to make Montana the first state to ban TikTok outright.
The rule passed by the Montana House of Representatives last Friday does not penalize users. Instead, it prohibits app stores, such as Android's Play Store or Apple's Apple Store, from offering TikTok as downloadable content.
The penalty for noncompliance is $10,000. An additional $10,000 will be added for each day that the restriction continues to be violated.
The legislators consider the measure necessary because, as the bill states: " The People's Republic of China exercises control and oversight over ByteDance, like other 15 Chinese corporations, and can direct the company to share user information, including real-time physical 16 locations of users.” In addition, the Chinese-based platform’s "allowance and promotion of dangerous challenges threatens the health and safety of Montanans.”
"The bill's champions have admitted that they have no feasible plan for operationalizing this attempt to censor American voices and that the bill's constitutionality will be decided by the courts," the company responded through a statement released by spokeswoman Brooke Oberwetter. "We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach."
1/3 TikTok's full statement on the passage of Montana's SB 419, a bill to ban TikTok outright statewide:
— Brooke Oberwetter (@brookeOB1) April 14, 2023
Montana goes one step further
The Treasure State is not alone in promoting restrictions against the social network, although this initiative would make it the first state to directly prohibit downloading the app.
Other states, such as Texas or Alaska, removed the app from state employee’s devices. The White House has also banned the app on federal employee’s devices. Similar measures were also proposed by other countries, including Canada and the European Union.