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Montana's TikTok Ban Temporarily Stalled By Federal Judge

Ananya Gairola
November 30, 2023

A federal judge has temporarily halted the ban imposed on TikTok in Montana, marking a significant twist in the first statewide restriction against the popular app.

What Happened: The ban was due to take effect next year, but the app, owned by ByteDance Ltd., argued that it infringes on free speech rights and is based on an unfounded belief that its Chinese ownership is a national security risk, reported Bloomberg. 

Previously, in May this year, Montana became the first state to fully ban TikTok, following specific bans on government devices and networks across the country last year. 

Similar restrictions have been implemented in various countries, including the EU, the U.K., and Canada. Meanwhile, the Indian government had banned TikTok back in 2020

See Also: Instagram Takes A Cue from TikTok: Introduces Download Option for Reels

U.S. district judge Donald Molloy, in his ruling, said, “Despite the state’s attempt to defend SB 419 as a consumer protection bill, the current record leaves little doubt that Montana’s legislature and Attorney General were more interested in targeting China’s ostensible role in TikTok than with protecting Montana consumers,”

The judge’s ruling prevents Montana’s SB 419 measure from taking effect on Jan. 1 while the ongoing legal dispute continues.

Earlier in October, a lawyer arguing for Montana’s attorney general Austin Knudsen said that the state had provided substantial evidence of the need to ban TikTok. The AG’s office also argued that it was irrational for TikTok to allege that Montana lacks proof of its link to China.

Why It Matters: This legal battle comes amid growing concern over TikTok’s influence and security. 

Earlier this year, Utah Governor Spencer Cox accused TikTok of creating an “addictive” environment detrimental to children and obscuring its connection to its parent company, ByteDance. This accusation was part of a lawsuit the state filed against the app. 

Last month, lawmakers called for a ban on TikTok, citing the app’s alleged pro-Palestinian and anti-Israeli stance. 

However, despite these controversies, TikTok continues to hold sway, topping the list of most downloaded apps globally.

Photo by Eliseu Geisler on Shutterstock

Check out more of Benzinga’s Consumer Tech coverage by following this link.

Read Next: TikTok’s Parent Company ByteDance To Fire Hundreds, Pulls The Plug From Gaming

This content was partially produced with the help of Benzinga Neuro and was reviewed and published by Benzinga editors.

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