TiKTok sues Montana over state-wide ban, legal expert weighs in

May 23, 2023, 7:00 PM

The icon for the video sharing TikTok app is seen on a smartphone, Feb. 28, 2023, in Marple Townshi...

FILE - The icon for the video sharing TikTok app is seen on a smartphone, Feb. 28, 2023, in Marple Township, Pa. Photo credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum

SALT LAKE CITY — Last week, Montana became the first state in the nation to issue a complete ban on TikTok. Gov. Greg Gianforte (R-Montana) signed legislation that prohibits the use of the social media app in the Treasure State.

However, TikTok has countered that measure by filing a lawsuit this week against the state, claiming Montana is violating the First Amendment. The band is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, 2024. 

KSL Legal Analyst and KSL at Night host Greg Skordas joined Dave & Dujanovic on Tuesday to discuss the case with hosts Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic.

Noriega starts off by asking, “But is there a First Amendment issue here where you’re saying you cannot say anything on TikTok?”

“And that’s exactly what the bulk of the lawsuit is about,” Skordas said. “I mean Debbie said it’s First Amendment and other issues, but First Amendment is what is driving this.”

Skordas goes on to say, the Chinese government has a policy that all businesses or companies operating inside that country must share information. First Amendment aside, Skordas says Montana’s point is it is protecting the privacy of its residents and doesn’t want their private information to end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party. 

Does Montana have a case against TikTok?

Dujanovic adds, “The state will have to show proof of that though, right? They’ll have to connect the dots for the courts. I would presume to show that they have proof that TikTok is indeed sending private information from Montana residents who are on TikTok to the Chinese government. Am I wrong?”

“You’re exactly right,” Skordas said. “And that’s going to be a huge problem because TikTok has said that their clearing house.”

Skordas says TikTok claims the information is being stored and shared in Texas. And is not going to the Chinese Communist Party. He says that TikTok claims to be an American company, at least in terms of how the data is collected and stored. 

Noriega asked, “Does this affect basically any app that was produced or is operating in China?”

“It absolutely could,” Skordas said. “It doesn’t now. The law is specifically targeted to TikTok. But the same logic applies.”

In conclusion, Skordas suspects Montana is fighting an uphill battle.

“But in terms of the private sector with First Amendment issues that you guys are talking about,” he said. “I think the state of Montana has a difficult job there.”

Listen to the entire segment.


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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TiKTok sues Montana over state-wide ban, legal expert weighs in