TikTok sues to overturn a ban in the US state of Montana

TikTok filed a lawsuit in federal court in the United States on Monday to prevent the state of Montana from outlawing the video-sharing software entirely.

TikTok said in the lawsuit that the unprecedented restriction, which is due to begin in 2024, violates the constitutionally protected right to free speech.

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“We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts,” a TikTok spokesperson told AFP.

On May 17, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed the historic prohibition into law.

Gianforte welcomed the restriction on Twitter in order to “protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”

“The state has enacted these extraordinary and unprecedented measures based on nothing more than unfounded speculation,” TikTok contended in its lawsuit.

Five TikTok users filed their own lawsuit last week, requesting that a federal court overturn Montana’s prohibition on the app, claiming that it infringes their free speech rights.

Both lawsuits filed against Montana contend that the state is attempting to exercise national security powers that only the federal government possesses while also infringing free speech rights.

TikTok has asked the federal court to declare Montana’s prohibition on its app illegal and to prevent the state from enforcing it.

“Montana can no more ban its residents from viewing or posting to TikTok than it could ban the Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes,” the lawsuit filed by TikTok users contends.

The app is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance, and it has been accused by a wide range of US politicians of being controlled by the Chinese government and used for spying by Beijing, something the company vehemently denies.

Montana became the first US state to outlaw TikTok, with the rule due to go into force next year as debate about the app’s effects and security heats up.

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