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Montana Becomes First US State to Ban TikTok

The US state of Montana has become the first in the country to ban the popular video-sharing platform TikTok. Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a law on Wednesday which takes effect on January 1st 2021, citing concerns that TikTok could hand over personal user information to the Chinese government.

The law makes it illegal to access and download TikTok in Montana, and companies such as Google and Apple face potential fines if they make the app available in their digital stores. Gianforte says that “it is well documented that the Chinese Communist Party uses TikTok to spy on Americans, violate their privacy, and collect their personal, private and sensitive information”.

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TikTok has denied all accusations of spying for China, but their response to the new law has been critical, claiming that it violates freedom of speech – which is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called it “an assault on the right to freedom of expression for hundreds of thousands of people in Montana who use the app”.

The Chinese government requires companies based in China to assist their intelligence services as necessary. This has raised worries that Beijing could be monitoring user data from TikTok and profiting from it.

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