Montana governor Greg Gianforte (R) is asking state lawmakers to expand its existing TikTok ban to include other apps.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers passed the first TikTok ban in the United States. It goes beyond prohibiting state and federal employees from using the app and extends to the entire state. Now the governor wants to see that ban expanded to include other social media sites that provide data to foreign adversaries.
Montana lawmakers banned TikTok on the grounds that the Chinese-owned media company could share sensitive harvested data with the Chinese government. It also pointed to claims that TikTok’s algorithm could be used to push misinformation on the public. ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, has vigorously opposed any legislation regarding a ban on TikTok.
The bill makes TikTok illegal in Montana with stiff penalties for App Stores making it available to Montana’s residents. They include a fine of $10,000 a day for each time someone accesses TikTok or is offered the ability to download the app, including the App Store and Google Play. It’s unclear how the law will be enforced and it is sure to face legal challenges on First Amendment grounds.
According to a spokesperson for the Republican governor, the amendment offered by the governor’s office will address concerns raised with the original bill. Under these new changes, any social media app that provides personal information to “a person or entity located within a country designated as a foreign adversary” would not be able to operate within the state of Montana.
“The amendment for consideration seeks to improve the bill by broadening Montanans’ privacy protections beyond just TikTok and against all foreign adversaries while also addressing the bill’s technical and legal concerns,” adds Kaitlin Price, the governor’s press secretary in a statement made to the Associated Press. TikTok has not responded to the broadened scope of this bill as proposed.