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Republicans vote to ban TikTok completely in Montana

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The Montana House of Representatives has given its final approval to a Bill that would remove TikTok from the state. This move is certain to be met with legal resistance, and serves as a sample of the TikTok-free America that many national politicians are striving for due to potential Chinese espionage. The Bill was ratified with a 54-43 vote, making Montana the first state to enact a total ban on the app. This goes beyond the restrictions that have been implemented by almost half of the states, as well as the US government, which disallows TikTok on government-owned devices.

Republican governor Greg Gianforte has yet to comment on whether or not he will sign the Bill into law. His spokesperson Brooke Metrione reported that the governor will “carefully consider” all Bills the legislature sends to his desk. Last year, Mr Gianforte imposed a ban on TikTok on state government devices, citing it as a “significant risk” to confidential state data.

In response to this measure, TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter expressed that she will be taking legal action against its constitutionality. She claims that the Bill’s proponents “have admitted that they have no feasible plan” to suppress “this attempt to censor American voices”, and that the company “will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious government overreach”.

TikTok, owned by the Chinese tech company ByteDance, has been surrounded by controversy regarding worries that it could be leaking user data to the Chinese government or spreading pro-Beijing propaganda and misinformation. The FBI and CIA, as well as multiple politicians from both parties, have expressed these concerns, but have yet to provide evidence of it taking place.

The supporters of the ban refer to two Chinese laws that order companies in the nation to collaborate with the government on state intelligence work. Additionally, in December, ByteDance acknowledged that it had fired four workers for accessing the IP addresses and other data of two journalists who were trying to determine the source of a leaked report about the company.

A Bill that does not single out TikTok, but provides the Commerce Department with the power to prohibit foreign threats on tech platforms, is being pushed forward by the White House. It has been met with criticism from privacy advocates, right-wing commentators, and others who believe the language is too broad. TikTok has stated that it has a plan in place to secure US user data.

Montana attorney general Austin Knudsen, whose office drafted the state’s legislation, announced on social media that the Bill “is a critical step to ensuring we are protecting Montanans’ privacy”, while also recognizing the possibility of it being taken to court. The ban will not occur until January 2024, and will be invalidated if Congress approves a national measure, or if TikTok severs its ties with China.

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Owen
Owen
Owen is an excited writer with over 10 years of experience in the newspaper industry. Born and raised in Ireland, Owen developed a passion for writing and journalism at a young age. He pursued this passion by studying journalism in college and quickly landed a job as a reporter at a local newspaper. Over the years, Owen worked his way up the ranks in the newspaper industry, eventually becoming one of the top editors in the company.

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