Montana vs. TikTok: State’s $10,00-a-Day Fine Stands as Attorney General Digs In

TikTok Montana fine

Photo Credit: Solen Feyissa

Montana is the first state in the United States to ban TikTok. It will fine tech giants $10,000 a day for keeping the app available for those in the state. Now the state’s attorney general weighs in.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed the first state-wide ban on TikTok into law last week. The legislation is facing legal challenges from TikTok creators and the platform itself, alleging the ban is a violation of Montanan’s First Amendment rights. But the Montana government doesn’t see it that way. Montana AG Austin Knudsen weighed in on why he feels the ban sets an important precedent.

“We had a spy balloon flyover right over our state here a couple months ago,” Knudsen told The National Desk’s Jan Jeffcoat. “Montana was the state we spotted that balloon and it wasn’t that we were tipped off by the Federal government or by the Air Force. We had to have a civilian spot that thing and we found out what it was doing; it was flying over our sensitive nuclear missile sites here in Montana.”

“We dug into all the social media companies and found that TikTok is the most horrifying,” he continues. “You might say, ‘well so are other social media companies.’ True except for the other social media companies that allow you to opt out of all that data collection. TikTok does not.”

“TikTok is collecting your facial recognition, your biometric data, your thumbprint. It’s logging your keystrokes, your passwords, scanning your pictures, your photos, your videos, and it’s sending all of that data back to China, back to ByteDance under Chinese law,” he continues. “If the Chinese Communist Party wants access to that US data, ByteDance has to give it to them. That’s what this is about. This is about protecting privacy and Montanan’s.”

Digital Music News has documented several instances in which TikTok was caught spying on its users. After being caught accessing the clipboard on mobile users’ keyboards, the company promised to stop. But investigative reporting found that ByteDance used TikTok data to track American journalists’ activities.