TikTok Creators Fight Back: Suing Montana State AG Over Social Media App Ban

In a move that mirrors actions some of the app's supporters took to fight efforts to restrict it during the Trump administration, a group of TikTok producers is suing the state of Montana's attorney general over the state's recent ban on the social media platform.

The U.S. District Court for Montana received the lawsuit on Wednesday from the founders. Suing the state attorney general, Austin Knudsen, who they claim is in charge of upholding the law, are Samantha Alario, Heather DiRocco, Alice Held, Carly Ann Goddard, and Dale Scout. They claim that among other statutes, the ban violates the First Amendment and is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit claims that "The Act attempts to exercise national security powers over which Montana does not have jurisdiction and to enjoin speech which Montana may not suppress." The law, according to the law's architects, who have more than 500,000 followers combined, also violates the 14th Amendment's due process clause and encroaches on federal government territory in addition to First Amendment issues.

The lawsuit was brought up right once after Republican governor of Montana Greg Gianforte enacted a law outlawing TikTok in the state. 


The rule forbids both TikTok, whose Chinese parent company ByteDance owns it, and app shops like Google's and Apple's from selling the program in the state. Each day that a law is broken, an organization will pay a $10,000 fine. TikTok users won't face punishment individually.

Efforts to limit access to the well-known app, which have been ongoing in Washington and other places for years, may use Montana as a test case for broader initiatives across the United States.

The exact method of applying the Montana law is unknown. When pressed for more information, the bill's sponsor declined and stated TikTok is responsible for following the law. Although this lawsuit and other legal challenges could delay the law's implementation, it is scheduled to take effect on January 1.

Before the legislation became a law, TikTok was speaking out against it. Following its execution, the firm claimed it violated the First Amendment rights of Montanans.

The governor of Montana has a duty to defend Montanans and their right to personal privacy, according to a spokeswoman for the governor's office.

In order to increase the likelihood that the ban would withstand a court challenge, the governor had requested legislative revisions to expand it beyond TikTok, but the Legislature ran out of time to take them into consideration. When he signed the legislation, Gianforte also gave some state employees orders to prohibit the use of any social media platforms associated with foreign enemies while using government property or conducting official business in Montana.

In 2022 and the spring of 2023, concerns over TikTok's American operations revived. The Biden administration warned ByteDance that it could face a potential ban in the United States if it didn't sell its ownership in TikTok.

Beijing has frequently resisted American pressure on TikTok and asserted that it will never demand that businesses unlawfully collect data and intelligence from abroad. 

Get latest news delivered daily!

We will send you breaking news right to your inbox

© 2024 Wayne Dupree, Privacy Policy