TikTok: Montana becomes first US state to ban social media app

Montana has banned TikTok over data concerns (Yui Mok / PA)
Montana has banned TikTok over data concerns (Yui Mok / PA)

Montana has become the first US state to ban TikTok on personal devices, following a ban on government devices in December.

The ban was signed into law on Wednesday (May 17) and will come into effect on January 1.

Although the ban will prevent app stores from offering TikTok, people who already have the app will be able to continue using it.

Governor Greg Gianforte says he has directed Montana’s Chief Information Officer to “ban any application that provides personal information or data to foreign adversaries from the state network”.

He added that the ban would “protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party”.

Meanwhile, TikTok has said that the ban “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana” and that they intend to take legal action.

In a statement, a spokesperson for TikTok said: “We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana.”

In February, the US government ordered all federal employees to remove TikTok from their government-issued phones.

A spokesperson for China’s foreign ministry criticised the move, saying: “We firmly oppose those wrong actions.

“The US government should respect the principles of market economy and fair competition, stop suppressing the companies, and provide an open, fair, and non-discriminatory environment for foreign companies in the US.”

Furthermore, universities in Oklahoma, Alabama, and Texas have restricted students from accessing TikTok over campus Wi-Fi networks.

TikTok is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, which has denied that it is controlled by the Chinese government.

In March, the US government proposed that ByteDance sell TikTok, or else the app could be banned nationwide.

In the UK, the BBC has urged staff to delete TikTok from corporate devices, unless the app is being used for editorial or marketing purposes, and in March, the UK banned TikTok on government phones.

TikTok was also fined £12.7 million by a UK watchdog for mishandling children’s data.