The Move Against TikTok
In a historic move, Montana has become the first state in the United States to outlaw TikTok, the hugely popular video-sharing app. The ground-breaking law prohibiting TikTok from being sold in mobile app shops by the end of next year was signed by Governor Greg Gianforte. The daring attempt is a reflection of growing US anxiety over TikTok’s Chinese heritage and the potential national security risk posed by its parent company, ByteDance.
TikTok in the Eye of the Storm
TikTok is coming under more scrutiny despite already being blocked on government devices in more than half of American states. The Biden administration has proposed a statewide ban unless ByteDance gives up its shares, despite TikTok’s allegations that it exchanges user data with the Chinese government. At recent congressional hearings, Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, has been asked to defend the company’s ties with China and its effects on the mental health of its youthful user base.
Implications of the Ban and Possible Challenges
The new rule in Montana, which forbids TikTok downloads in the state and fines any “organization” $10,000 per day for granting access to the platform, is scheduled to go into effect on January 1. Yet, these sanctions would not apply to users. Legal challenges are anticipated for this legislation, which could potentially establish a precedent for a TikTok-free America. Opponents claim a VPN may be used to get around this and characterize the ban as excessive government intervention, bordering on censorship. Notwithstanding the outcome, the decision made by Montana signals a turning point in the ongoing discussion surrounding technology, privacy, and national security.