TikTok faces its first potential statewide ban in Montana

TikTok app logo on Android
(Image credit: Jay Bonggolto / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Montana has passed a new bill that seeks to ban TikTok in the state.
  • If the legislation becomes a law, it will make Montana the first state to block the public use of the app statewide.
  • The bill will also penalize app marketplaces like the Play Store and App Store that will continue to make it available to users.

Mounting efforts in the United States to ban the use of TikTok are currently limited to government devices, but new legislation in Montana will most likely bar the use of the app for the public statewide.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Montana lawmakers approved a new bill to prohibit TikTok from operating in the state by a vote of 54-43. The proposal is now awaiting Governor Greg Gianforte's rubber stamp before it becomes law. If signed, Montana will become the first state to enforce a statewide ban on the ByteDance-owned platform.

The potential total ban on TikTok is the service's latest challenge in a country hell-bent on getting rid of the platform by all means necessary. Montana has already prohibited the use of the app on all government electronic devices in line with countrywide legislation approved by the United States Senate last December.

As per the Montana bill, TikTok will be banned statewide beginning on January 1, 2024, assuming Gianforte signs it. When the law is fully implemented, anyone who breaks the law will face a $10,000 fine per violation. However, it is unclear how the state will put it into action.

TikTok's regulatory hurdles in the country have been a longstanding battle for the company since the Trump administration. Government officials have accused the app of being spyware and giving China access to all American users' data, branding it a national security threat. Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen re-echoed the same sentiment.

Last month, TikTok updated its community guidelines and shared its community principles with the public for the first time to address the U.S. government's security concerns. The company refreshed its hate speech and hateful behavior policies, as well as expanded its information on how it protects "civic and election integrity."

But with Montana taking the lead in implementing a total ban on the app, it may only be a matter of time before downloading and installing TikTok on all consumer devices in the U.S. becomes illegal.

Jay Bonggolto
News Writer & Reviewer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.