Montana becomes first state to ban TikTok

Montana takes the lead as the first U.S. state to ban TikTok, with the governor signing legislation that prevents mobile app stores from offering the app within the state starting next year. Naturally, ByteDance, TikTok's Chinese parent company, is not amused, calling the ban an "infringement on the first amendment rights of the people of Montana" in a statement.

The new law slaps a hefty $10,000 daily fine on any "entity," like an app store or TikTok, offering access in the state, but users themselves will not be penalized. Critics argue it's government overreach and censorship, while others point out that savvy Montanans might just use virtual private networks to bypass the ban. Keegan Medrano of the ACLU of Montana says the legislature has "trampled on the free speech" of Montanans, while NetChoice, which includes Google and TikTok as members, calls the bill unconstitutional.

The Guardian has the full story.

The move is among the most dramatic in a series of US escalations against TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance. TikTok has come under increasing scrutiny over its ties to China, amid concerns that such links could pose a national security threat.

The federal government, and more than half of US states, have prohibited the app on government devices and the Biden administration has threatened a national ban unless its parent company sells its shares. More than half of US states and the federal government have a similar ban.

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.

Related: The 'Enshittification' of TikTok