The US state of Montana has passed a law to ban TikTok

Montana passed legislation on Friday to ban TikTok, which is unlikely to be enforced as it stands, but could strengthen the U.S.’s desire to ban the popular platform from Chinese group Bite Dance.

With 54 votes in favor (43 against), SB419 legislation has yet to be released by the Republican governor of this northwestern state of more than a million people. The text orders mobile application stores (Apple and Google) to stop distributing TikTok. Like many Democrats and Republicans elected to the U.S. Congress, the Montana representative believes the platform for short and entertaining videos, frequented by 150 million Americans, allows Beijing to spy on and manipulate users.

“Time to stand up to the Chinese”

Rep. Brandon Lehr said Thursday that “it’s time to stand up to the Chinese and ban TikTok” after accusations against China of “risky use of our data and our intellectual property” and “health and safety.” Younger”. “TikTok allows and encourages dangerous stunts like throwing objects at moving vehicles or taking overdoses,” he added.

TikTok has denied these allegations for years. Asked by a congressional committee in Washington in March, the company’s boss, Sho Shiv, presented steps taken to store all data of American users only in the United States. “This law is a shocking violation of Montanans’ rights to free speech” and sets a “disastrous precedent,” responded Vanessa Pappas, TikTok’s director of operations, after the Montana Senate voted in favor. Ban in early March.

“Lack of Expertise”

Democratic lawmakers who oppose the new law argued during Thursday’s debate that many of the criticisms leveled at TikTok over data privacy, misinformation or adverse health effects (addiction, depression, etc.) apply to other social networks. “There is a huge gap between the most serious issues of this matter and (…) the lack of expertise of this assembly”, declared Zooey Zephyr.

The representative also pointed out that Montana residents can download or update the app by moving near the border with neighboring states or using a VPN (virtual private network) to access the Internet from another location. Several independent experts noted that the law will almost certainly be challenged in court and is unlikely to be used as it stands. Apple and Google did not immediately respond to AFP’s requests.

The text mentions penalties for infringing companies, but not for users. It also says the law would be invalid if a company acquired TikTok from a country “not considered hostile”. United Nations . The White House recently urged TikTok to seek this kind of solution if it wants to stay in the U.S. after being acquired by an American company. The government is talking to Congress about several bills to ban the use.

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