Judge blocks Montana’s TikTok ban from taking effect on January 1

Nov 30, 2023, 5:49 PM | Updated: Dec 15, 2023, 5:26 pm

The TikTok logo is displayed on signage outside TikTok social media app company offices in Culver C...

The TikTok logo is displayed on signage outside TikTok social media app company offices in Culver City, California, on March 16. A federal judge on Thursday halted Montana’s TikTok ban, which was set to go into effect at the start of 2024.(Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images)

(Patrick T. Fallon/AFP/Getty Images)

(CNN) — A federal judge on Thursday halted Montana’s TikTok ban, which was set to go into effect at the start of 2024.

In a filing, US District Judge Donald Molloy said that despite the state government’s attempt to defend the law, “the current record leaves little doubt that Montana’s legislature and Attorney General were more interested in targeting China’s ostensible role in TikTok than with protecting Montana consumers.”

Montana’s attorney general and governor’s offices did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The law, which was set to be the first of its kind in the nation, prohibited the app from operating within state lines, outlining potential fines of $10,000 per day for violators. It was signed into law by Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte in May, who said the law was necessary to protect Montantans’ personal data “from the Chinese Communist Party.”

Montana’s law was challenged by TikTok and a group of the app’s content creators, who argued, in part, that the ban infringes on their First Amendment rights.

The decision comes as lawmakers grapple with TikTok’s ties to China. The social media app is owned by China-based ByteDance. Many US officials have expressed fears that the Chinese government could potentially access US data via TikTok for spying purposes, though there is so far no evidence that the Chinese government has ever accessed the personal information of US-based TikTok users.

The legal battle has been closely watched because it is viewed as a bellwether for TikTok’s future in the United States, where dozens of states and the US government have already banned the app on official devices but have so far refrained from blocking the app on private devices.

TikTok did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other state governments have attempted their own methods to reel in TikTok, which counts 150 million people in the United States as users, according to the company. On Thursday, another judge dismissed a lawsuit against TikTok filed by the state of Indiana, accusing the company of making false claims about the safety of user data and age-appropriate content. The judge in that case, Judge Jennifer DeGroote, said the court “lacks personal jurisdiction” over TikTok, according to court documents.

Montana’s attempted ban marked the furthest step yet by a state government to restrict TikTok over perceived security concerns.

At an October hearing, Molloy slammed Montana’s legislation as being driven by “paternalistic” views of social media users, suggesting lawmakers could have taken other steps short of an attempted ban to achieve their goals.

CNN’s Samantha Murphy Kelly and Brian Fung contributed to reporting.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Arts + Entertainment

steve salles next to a poster for ordinary angels...

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Ordinary Angels’ is a feel-good movie worth watching

In this KSL Movie Show review, Steve Salles says to bring tissues to the theater if you go see 'Ordinary Angels.'

2 hours ago

A bench sits surrounded by colorful, thriving plants in Salt Lake City's Red Butte Garden...

Mariah Maynes

Red Butte Garden announces new speaker series

Red Butte Garden announced a new speaker series called Cultivating Wisdom and Wonder on Wednesday. 

7 hours ago

Voice actor Sarah Elmaleh poses for a photo in Los Angeles on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. Recent years ...

MATT O'BRIEN AP Technology Writer

Some video game actors are letting AI clone their voices. They just don’t want it to replace them

Video game studios are using AI-generated voices in games. Some actors are cautiously open to it with fair compensation and usage safeguards.

2 days ago

Actors, construction workers and appreciators of the theater celebrated a milestone of construction...

Cassidy Wixom,

Pleasant Grove celebrates construction milestone of new Hale theater

Dozens of actors and theatergoers celebrated a milestone of construction at a beam-raising ceremony for the new Hale Theater being built in Pleasant Grove.

3 days ago

The 2024 BAFTA Film Awards are being presented on Sunday at the Royal Festival Hall in London, Engl...

Alli Rosenbloom and Thomas Page, CNN

BAFTA Awards 2024: See who won

“Oppenheimer” was a big winner at the 2024 BAFTA Film Awards, which were presented Sunday at the Royal Festival Hall.

3 days ago

paul mccartney plays guitar with the beatles...

Issy Ronald, CNN

Paul McCartney reunited with stolen guitar ‘that kicked off Beatlemania’ after 50 years

Paul McCartney played the distinctive Höfner bass guitar when recording The Beatles’ first two albums.

5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Judge blocks Montana’s TikTok ban from taking effect on January 1