Judge Blocks First Attempt of a State-Wide Social Media Ban

(TotalConservative.com) – A month before it was set to take effect on January 1, a US judge just blocked a statewide ban on using the social media app TikTok in Montana, which would’ve been the first of its kind.

In a Thursday decision, District Judge Donald Molloy ruled that the ban violates First Amendment rights and “oversteps state power” by infringing on users’ constitutional rights. Molloy decided to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the TikTok ban.

TikTok is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance, which did not comment on the Thursday decision. Back in May, ByteDance filed a lawsuit against the state of Montana in an attempt to stop the ban using several arguments, including free speech violations. Some Montana residents who use the app also filed a lawsuit to block the TikTok ban.

There was also no immediate comment from the Montana attorney general’s office, which expressed support for the legislation banning the app due to concerns that the Chinese government may be using it to spy on the American people and even manipulate them through the app’s algorithmic recommendations. In their court filing, TikTok claims no “US user data” was ever shared with the People’s Republic of China, that they “would not share” such data, and even took “substantial measures” protecting users’ privacy.

Molloy sided with many of the company’s arguments, which he found to be meritorious. He raised questions during a hearing in October about why Montana is the only state pursuing the ban, speculating that the state government may be acting in a “paternalistic” fashion by arguing the necessity of it to protect TikTok user data.

If it took effect, the legislation would have allowed Montana to impose fines of up to $10,000 every time TikTok violated the law but did not call for penalties against individual users.

It’s not TikTok’s first rodeo, either. Some members of Congress have been trying to ban the app or grant the president and his administration the power to restrict or block its use, but all of those efforts have been unsuccessful.

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