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TikTok Creators Challenge Montana’s Statewide App Ban

Reacting to Montana's statewide TikTok ban, five creators on the platform have initiated a legal battle, asserting violation of their First Amendment rights.

In a robust reaction to Montana's statewide ban on TikTok, a quintet of the platform's creators have filed a lawsuit to thwart the ban's enforcement. The groundbreaking prohibition was signed into law by Montana's Governor just a day prior to the legal challenge being launched.

The TikTok creators' legal representation contends in court documents that the prohibition is an infringement of the U.S. Constitution and a violation of their First Amendment rights. They also object to Montana’s ostensible invocation of national security as grounds for the ban.

“Montana lacks the authority to legislate its own interpretation of the United States’ foreign policy or national security interests. Furthermore, Montana cannot ban an entire platform for communication based on its judgement that certain First Amendment-protected speech shared via that platform is potentially harmful,” the lawsuit asserts.

Austin Knudsen, Montana’s Attorney General, anticipated legal challenges to the ban in an interview with Fox News. “Some crucial issues necessitate federal courts’ intervention and resolution. Factoring in this expectation was integral to our decision-making process in implementing this ban,” he remarked.

As one of the inaugural legal challenges to the law, this lawsuit will likely draw intense scrutiny, particularly as federal officials contemplate a nationwide prohibition of the app. The Montana ban is slated to come into effect on January 1, 2024, although pending lawsuits might potentially postpone this timeline. TikTok itself has not revealed whether it intends to initiate its own lawsuit in Montana. However, in a statement following the bill’s signing, TikTok avowed its commitment “to defend the rights of our users within and beyond Montana.”