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Montana is the first US state to ban TikTok

A ban that also extends to WeChat and Telegram Messenger

Montana is the first US state to ban TikTok A ban that also extends to WeChat and Telegram Messenger

Montana is the first US state to ban TikTok after Governor Greg Gianforte signed a law prohibiting mobile app stores from offering the platform in the state until next year. The new law, which will take effect on 1 January, bans TikTok downloads in the state and imposes fines of $10,000 per day on any 'entity' - app stores and TikTok itself - if users are offered the opportunity to access the platform or download the app. According to The Guardian, the move is one of the most dramatic in a series of escalations by the US government against TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. The reason for this is the complication of diplomatic relations between the two countries and the resulting fear of the leakage of data and sensitive information. For the same reasons, Governor Gianforte has also banned the use of other social media applications such as China-based WeChat and Russia-based Telegram Messenger.

The federal government had already banned the use of social media on government devices and the Biden administration has threatened a nationwide ban unless the parent company decides to sell. Although Bytedance has repeatedly denied ever sharing data with the Chinese government and has stated that it would not do so even if asked, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew was questioned before Congress last March about the extent of the threat to national security and a possible outright ban. In response to the dispute with Montana, the platform issued a statement claiming that the law violates constitutional rights and stating its intention to defend the rights of its users inside and outside the state of Montana.

The Montana government's ban has been met with mixed reactions: While some argue that it is a necessary step to protect the national security and privacy of citizens, others see it as an excess that amounts to censorship. Opponents argue that Montana residents could easily circumvent the ban by using a virtual private network (VPN), a service that encrypts users' traffic, preventing others from monitoring their online activities. This criticism casts doubt on the real effectiveness of the ban and its ability to protect personal data. TikTok has become one of the most popular social networks in the world, with more than 100 million users in the United States, and the ban raises concerns about the future of the use of this and similar platforms in the United States.