Montana has become the first state to ban Chinese-owned social media app TikTok, with Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signing legislation to protect the state’s residents from “the Chinese Communist Party.”
On Wednesday, Gianforte announced that he had signed Senate Bill 419 — which bans TikTok from operating within Montana’s borders, and prohibits companies from offering the Chinese-owned social media app for download.
“To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana,” Gianforte tweeted.
To protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party, I have banned TikTok in Montana.
— Governor Greg Gianforte (@GovGianforte) May 17, 2023
“The Chinese Communist Party using TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private, and sensitive information is well-documented,” the governor said.
“Today, Montana takes the most decisive action of any state to protect Montanans’ private data and sensitive personal information from being harvested by the Chinese Communist Party,” Gianforte added.
The law — which will go into effect on January 1, 2024 — will give the Montana Department of Justice the authority to fine app stores like Google or Apple, or TikTok parent company ByteDance, $10,000 for each individual violation, and another $10,000 for each day that the violation continues. No individual users of TikTok will be punished.
Montana has already banned the Chinese-owned social media app from government devices in the state — citing the serious concerns over TikTok’s spying on Americans’ data, which poses a threat to national security.
TikTok was already caught red-handed spying on journalists in the United States and the United Kingdom. The company even admitted to the spying after an investigation into the matter was conducted by an outside law firm.
According to Breitbart News, “ByteDance staffers on a team reportedly tasked with monitoring employee conduct obtained access to the IP addresses and other data of two U.S. journalists — as well as some people connected to the reporters via their TikTok accounts — in an attempt to figure out who at the Chinese company had been leaking information to journalists.”
A former ByteDance executive also admitted that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has “supreme access” to all data collected by TikTok’s parent company, including data from servers inside the United States.
The former executive also noted that the CCP has a special office inside the company to monitor both TikTok and ByteDance, which is tasked with guiding the companies in advancing “core Communist values.”