WASHINGTON — Montana Governor Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed legislation to ban the Chinese-owned short video app TikTok from operating in the state, making it the first US state to ban the popular short video app.
The legislation prohibits mobile application stores from offering TikTok within the state.
Gov. Gianforte said the bill will further “our shared priority to protect Montanans from Chinese Communist Party surveillance.”
TikTok, owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, said in a statement the bill “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok,” adding that they “will defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana. “
The company has previously denied that it has ever shared data with the Chinese government and has said the company would not do so if asked.
Montana, which has a population of just over 1 million people, said TikTok could face fines if they violated the ban. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2024.
The short video app can be downloaded in app stores on Apple Inc and Google devices. Google is a unit of Alphabet Inc.
TikTok is facing growing calls from some US lawmakers to ban the app nationwide over concerns about potential Chinese government influence over the platform.
Gianforte also prohibited the use of all social media applications that collect and provide personal information or data to foreign adversaries on government-issued devices. (Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Leslie Adler)