TikTok has filed a federal lawsuit against Montana after the state passed a law banning the app. TikTok is arguing that the ban is tantamount to illegal suppression of free speech and censorship, according to NPR. The Montana law “unlawfully abridges one of the core freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment,” the suit says.
“We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana,” TikTok said in a statement. “We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts.”
The suit also challenges Montana’s concerns that Chinese officials could access Americans’ data and subject minors to harmful content. “The state has enacted these extraordinary and unprecedented measures based on nothing more than unfounded speculation,” the suit says.
This comes amid last week’s news that Montana had passed legislation banning TikTok within the state’s borders. It would also fine any “entity” — an app store or TikTok — $10,000 per day for each time someone “is offered the ability” to access the social media platform or download the app. (Penalties would not apply to users.)
Montana initially banned the app on government-owned devices in late December. TikTok is likely to challenge the decision in federal court, a legal battle that could end up going to the US Supreme Court. The ban goes into effect January 1, 2024.