TikTok Inc on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging the state of Montana’s new ban on use of the Chinese-owned short-video app.
ByteDance-owned TikTok claims the ban, which would take effect on Jan. 1, violates First Amendment rights of the company and users. The lawsuit, filed in US District Court in Montana, also argues the ban is pre-empted by federal law because it encroaches upon affairs of restrictive federal concern and breaches the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution, which limits the authority of States to enact legislation that inordinately hampers interstate and foreign commerce.
Montana is the first US state to attempt to ban TikTok. Former President Donald Trump in 2020 sought to bar new downloads of TikTok and Chinese-owned WeChat and other transactions, which the companies said would have effectively barred use of the apps, but a series of court decisions blocked the bans from taking effect.
The company also argues the state “banishes TikTok, and just TikTok, from the State for purely punitive reasons, as evidenced by the State’s decision to single out Plaintiff for harsh penalties based on speculative concerns about TikTok’s data security and content moderation practices.”
TikTok users in Montana filed lawsuit against state ban
Last week, five TikTok users in Montana who generate content posted on the short-video app filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block the state’s ban.
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed legislation to ban TikTok in the state. The law makes it unlawful for TikTok to operate in the state and for the app stores of Alphabet Inc’s GOOGL.O Google and Apple Inc AAPL.O to offer TikTok within Montana.
TikTok’s lawsuit names Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who is accused of imposing the law. Knudsen’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry for comment on Monday.
TikTok is suing to block the US state of Montana from banning the company's short-video app. The company filed a lawsuit arguing the ban, which is set to take effect on January 1, violates the First Amendment rights of the company and users https://t.co/9oQ5CpBf0L pic.twitter.com/oO01e7bzgf
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 23, 2023
Montana is trying to ban TikTok, but some social media users have already lawyered up to sue. We were joined on TMZ Live by one of the TikTok users who is part of the lawsuit: pic.twitter.com/0C8ourIo3g
— TMZ Live (@TMZLive) May 22, 2023