TikTok has come under mounting pressure the world over in recent months, as governments cite fears about the video-sharing app’s privacy and data handling procedures.
The app is a modern social media phenomenon, it has millions of users across the world and holds enormous sway over popular culture. However, this hasn’t stopped authorities from cracking down on the platform; TikTok has been banned from government devices in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and a majority of the EU.
Afghanistan, India, Iran, and Pakistan have taken things one step further, banning the app outright and deeming it to be both unsafe and promoting inappropriate content.
Times have been tough for TikTok, CEO Shou Zi Chew was grilled by the US Congress over the app’s privacy issues back in March, and there is an ever-present threat of the app facing a blanket ban in major Western countries.
A significant portion of TikTok’s user base is in Western countries, so a blanket ban would be extremely damaging for the company. Unfortunately for TikTok, a blanket ban appears to be moving ever closer, with Montana confirming that it will be the first US state to completely prohibit the app.
On Wednesday, May 17th, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed a bill that will ban TikTok in the state completely. The law will apply to government officials and regular citizens, none of whom will be able to access or use the popular video-sharing app.
According to reports, the legislation is intended to protect residents of Montana from Chinese intelligence gathering, with TikTok widely perceived as a national security threat.
Montana has been leading the line for the US TikTok crackdown, the ban has been discussed by officials and legislators in the state since last month. However, this represents a significant step forward and is indicative of increasingly tense relations between the US and China.
What TikTok and the marketers and content creators who rely on the platform will be worried about is other states and jurisdictions following suit. The Montana TikTok ban could kick-start a domino effect and could see further bans implemented across the US and beyond.
The ban, which is set to take effect on the 1st of January 2024, will impose fines of $10,000 per day if TikTok is found to be operating within the state. Citizens using the app after the ban takes effect, however, will not face penalties.