Montana’s law banning TikTok, signed by Governor Greg Gianforte in May of this year, has been temporarily blocked by a federal judge.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy issued a preliminary injunction on November 30th halting the law, which was set to take effect January 1st, 2024.
In his ruling, Judge Molloy stated the ban likely violates the First Amendment rights of TikTok users and app developers.
However, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen believes the state can still defend the law once it has the chance to present more evidence.
The law was intended to protect Montanans’ data from access by the Chinese government.
TikTok has faced ongoing scrutiny over its China-based parent company, ByteDance, though TikTok claims it does not share user data with China.
This preliminary injunction delays but does not permanently block Montana’s law.
The judge still needs to issue a final ruling.
Ambika Kumar, the lawyer representing TikTok said, “Our position is not that the state can never regulate anything on the internet. Our position is that the state has gone completely overboard.”
In 2020, the Trump administration attempted a nationwide ban on TikTok, but this effort was also blocked by the courts.
The Biden administration recently hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping to thaw the current trade war between the companies.
In a summary of the meeting, the White House stated, “The President emphasized that the United States will continue to take necessary actions to prevent advanced U.S. technologies from being used to undermine our national security, without unduly limiting trade and investment.”
However, Meta announced very recently that it had deleted thousands of profiles on Facebook created in China attempting to influence the upcoming elections.