Lawmakers in the northwestern US state of Montana gave the nod on Friday Total ban on TikTok From 2024 onwardsPressure is mounting against a popular video site accused of being a tool of the Chinese Communist Party.
The initiative, for the first time in an American state, 54 voted in favor and 43 against. A platform owned by a Chinese group called Byte DanceLawmakers in Washington are asking for more.
If signed into law by the Governor of Montana, the bill TikTok will be the subject of an unprecedented and furious fight in state and US courts.
Ahead of the vote, a TikTok spokesperson said the bill’s constitutionality would ultimately be “determined by the courts.” He added: “We will continue to fight for TikTok users and creators in Montana, whose livelihoods and First Amendment rights are threatened by this egregious violation of government.”
Under the proposed law, Apple and Google should remove TikTok from their app stores And companies found to be in violation of the law will be fined $10,000 per day.
The proposed ban would take effect in 2024, but given its unprecedented nature in the United States, it faces almost certain legal challenges.
The bill is the latest skirmish in a fight between TikTok and several Western governments The use is already banned on government equipment in the US, Canada and several countries in Europe.
Despite its massive popularity, TikTok faces an ultimatum from the White House to part ways with its Chinese owners or cease operations in the US.
The app has been accused by many US politicians of being sponsored by the Chinese government Be a spy tool for Beijing, the company denies.
Montana state representative Brandon Lehr, who introduced the bill Thursday, said the Chinese Communist Party is “hiding behind TikTok to spy on Americans.”
Legal analysts and critics say the bill goes too far and is largely symbolic, and insists that pushing for such drastic action would be nearly impossible at the local level.
“It is not clear how the bill will be implemented.”Andrew Chelybak, professor of social media at the University of Florida. The bill “seems more like a statement than anything practical,” he added.
Free speech advocates opposed the law.
“Passage of this law would violate the First Amendment and crush Montana citizens’ constitutional right to free speech,” the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other unions said in a letter to Montana legislators.
Montana’s crackdown on TikTok comes as the app catches up with other proposed domestic legislation, including a bill that could give the White House massive new powers to oversee Chinese tech companies.
Last month, TikTok boss Shu Ji Siew faced five hours of intense interrogation. US lawmakers from both political camps about the utility’s ties to China.
(With information from AFP)
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