After Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed a TikTok ban into law—it now has its first legal challenge.
The ban doesn’t go into effect until January 1, but the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine have already filed a suit calling it unconstitutional. The law firm represents plaintiffs who use the social network and have created “significant audiences who tune in by the thousands to stream and engage with their content.”
“Plaintiffs bring this action to preserve their rights to publish, view, and share content through TikTok, to protect access to their TikTok followers, and to avert the irreparable harm they will suffer if SB 419 takes effect,” the lawsuit reads.
“Montana has no authority to enact laws advancing what it believes should be the United States’ foreign policy or its national security interests, nor may Montana ban an entire forum for communication base don its perceptions that some speech shared through that forum, though protected by the first Amendment, is dangerous,” it continues to assert. “Montana can no more ban its residents from viewing or posting to TikTok than it could ban the Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes.”
The lawsuit representing TikTok Creators vs. the Montana ban seeks to declare the law “invalid under the United States Constitution” but is only seeking “reasonable costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by bringing the action” to the court. The state has yet to issue a comment on the lawsuit and this is the first legal challenge to the law as it was enacted.
Montana is the first state in the union to attempt to ban TikTok for what it calls ‘foreign ownership’ and its ability to influence with algorithms. TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance has come under scrutiny in recent years for allowing employees backdoor access to American data—even after Project Texas was supposed to prevent that. Lead counsel in this case is Ambika Kumar, who represented TikTok creators vs. Trump’s TikTok ban in 2020.