New York (CNN) Montana Governor Greg Gianforte has signed a bill banning TikTok in his state.
Gianforte He tweeted. Montana’s ban on TikTok makes it the first state to officially ban the social media app, saying it “protects Montanans’ personal and private information from the Chinese Communist Party.”
The controversial law marks the biggest step yet by a state government to restrict TikTok over perceived security threats, and comes as some federal lawmakers are calling for a national ban on TikTok. But it is expected to be contested in court.
The bill, which takes effect in January, specifically targets TikTok, banning the app from operating across state lines. The law outlines that violators, including app stores that host the social media application, could be fined $10,000 a day.
Last month, lawmakers in the Montana House of Representatives voted 54-43 to send the bill, known as SB419, to Gianforte’s desk.
In a statement to CNN, Tik Tok said it will push to protect the rights of users in Montana.
“Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that violates the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana, illegally banning TikTok. It’s a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state. We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue to use TikTok to express themselves. As we work to protect the rights of our users in and outside of Montana, , make a living and find a community.
The law comes as TikTok faces growing criticism over its relationship with China. Tik Tok is owned by China-based ByteDance. Many U.S. officials have expressed concern that the Chinese government could access U.S. data through TikTok for espionage purposes, although there is no evidence yet that the Chinese government has obtained the personal information of U.S.-based TikTok users.
NetChoice, a tech trade group that includes TikTok as a member, says the Montana bill is unconstitutional.
“The government may not shut down our ability to have constitutionally protected speech — whether through newspapers, websites, or apps. By implementing this law, Montana is ignoring the U.S. Constitution, denying due process and free speech,” said Carl Szabo, general counsel for NetChoice’s website and apps. Their citizens want to use it.
The ACLU also issued a statement pushing back on the bill, saying, “With this ban, Governor Gianforte and the Montana Legislature trample on the free speech rights of hundreds of thousands of Montanans who use the app to express their opinions, collect information, and run.” Their small business in the name of anti-China sentiment.
On Wednesday, Gianforte signed an additional bill that would ban any social media app “linked to foreign opposition” from being used on government devices, including ByteDance-owned CapCut and Lemon8 and Russia-based Telegram Messenger.
— CNN’s Brian Fung contributed to this report.