TikTok sues Montana after state bans app

STORY: TikTok is suing to block the US state of Montana from banning the company’s short-video app.

The company filed lawsuit on Monday, arguing the ban, which is set to take effect next January 1, violates First Amendment rights of the company and users.

It said the ban is “unconstitutional” and is pre-empted by federal law because it intrudes upon matters of exclusive federal concern and violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

In other words, it alleges that the state has overreached by violating the parts of the Constitution that limit state powers.

Montana issued the ban last week, which makes it unlawful for Google and Apple app stores to offer TikTok within the state.

TikTok will be fined $10,000 each time it breaches the ban, but individual users are spared from the penalties. It is not clear how the ban will be enforced.

The state’s governor said the move was to “protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party”.

TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, amassed more than 150 million users in the U.S.

In recent years, however, it faced growing calls from officials and concern groups to ban the app nationwide over concerns about potential Chinese government influence over the platform.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who is charged with enforcing the law, was named in TikTok’s lawsuit.

A spokesperson for Knudsen said the state was ready for lawsuits and is “fully prepared to defend the law”.

Last week, five TikTok users in Montana also filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to block the state’s ban.