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Montana's TikTok Ban Temporarily Blocked by U.S. Federal Judge

  • A U.S. federal judge in Montana temporarily blocks the state's TikTok ban, deeming it unconstitutional.
  • TikTok's lawsuit argues the ban infringes on the Constitution and constitutes state overreach in national security matters.
  • The judge highlights First Amendment concerns, stating the ban likely violates free speech rights.

A U.S. federal judge in Montana has temporarily halted the state's TikTok ban, calling it unconstitutional and an overstep of state power. The court ruled that the ban likely violated the First Amendment and Congress's power to regulate commerce with foreign nations.

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed the restrictive law in May, citing concerns about protecting personal data from the Chinese Communist Party.

TikTok's lawsuit claims violation of Constitution and National Security Overreach

TikTok filed a lawsuit against Montana, arguing that the law violated the Constitution and constituted state overreach into national security matters. The court granted TikTok an injunction, blocking the ban temporarily. Five TikTok creators sued Montana, asserting that the ban infringed on their First Amendment rights.

Judge highlights targeting of China's role and First Amendment concerns

U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy emphasized that Montana's focus on China's role in TikTok overshadowed consumer protection. He noted that the ban "likely violates the First Amendment" by targeting speech.

The judge acknowledged potentially irreparable harm to TikTok and its creators, stating that the Legislature harmed their First Amendment rights and income streams.

Ban would impose fines, now on hold pending final court decision

The Montana TikTok ban, set to go live on January 1, 2024, would have imposed fines for each user accessing or downloading an attempt for TikTok or app stores. Fines would accumulate daily.

The ban is on hold until a final determination on TikTok's claims is made, allowing users to continue expressing themselves on the platform.

Edited by Shruti Thapa