On Wednesday, TikTok Inc. made a request to a judge in the United States, asking them to prevent the execution of a Montana state ban on the use of the Chinese-owned app before it goes into effect on January 1.
TikTok, which is owned by ByteDance of China and filed suit in May, asked U.S. District Judge Donald W. Molloy to grant a preliminary injunction to prohibit the first-of-its-kind U.S. state ban on various grounds, alleging that it violates the free speech rights of both the firm and its users under the First Amendment. TikTok is owned by ByteDance of China.
In a court declaration, the President of TikTok Global Business Solutions, Blake Chandlee, stated that the ban in Montana “will cause significant and irreversible harms to our business and our brand” and that it would harm “relationships with advertisers and business partners across the country and around the world.”
TikTok further contends that the restriction is invalid under federal law because it interferes with issues that are solely the responsibility of the federal government and because it violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which restricts the authority of states to make laws that excessively impede both interstate and international commerce.
Concerns about the potential for TikTok to be influenced by the Chinese government have led some lawmakers in the United States to advocate for the app’s prohibition across the country. TikTok is used by more than 150 million people in the United States.
In its lawsuit, TikTok maintains that it “has not shared, and would not share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government,” and that it “has taken substantial measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users.”
Chandlee stated that “we expect that additional advertisers and business partners will pull back from working with TikTok Inc (which is the entity that receives income from U.S. advertisers, including in Montana),” in the event that the ban goes into place.
TikTok could face fines of up to $10,000 in Montana for each infraction of the state’s law. Individual users of TikTok are not subject to legal repercussions as a result of this regulation.
TikTok asks US judge, according to statistics provided by TikTok, there are 380,000 people in Montana who use the video service. This represents more than a third of the state’s population of 1.1 million.
Former President Donald Trump made an effort in the year 2020 to prohibit new downloads of TikTok and Chinese-owned WeChat, which is a unit of Tencent (0700.HK), as well as related transactions. The companies stated at the time that this could have effectively barred U.S. use of the apps; however, a series of court decisions prevented the bans from going into effect.
The plaintiff in TikTok’s action is Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, whose job it is to ensure that the law is followed. On Wednesday, a request for a statement was sent to the office of Knudsen, but there was no immediate response.