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TikTok sues Montana after app is banned in state

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TikTok has filed a federal lawsuit against Montana over the state’s new law banning the short-video app.In the suit filed on Monday, the company argues the ban violates first amendment rights of both the company and its users.The suit also argues the ban is pre-empted by federal law because it intrudes upon matters of exclusive federal concern and violates the commerce clause of the US constitution, which limits the authority of states to enact legislation that unduly burdens interstate and foreign commerce.“We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana,” the company said in the court filing.On Wednesday, Montana’s governor, Greg Gianforte, signed legislation that bans the app and prohibits the Google and Apple app stores from offering it within the state starting next year.The law would fine any “entity” – whether an app store or the social media company itself – for each time someone “is offered the ability” to access the platform or download the app.A group of TikTok creators had already sued to block the law, arguing it violates their first amendment rights.

The state, the plaintiffs argued, seeks to “exercise powers over national security that Montana does not have and to ban speech Montana may not suppress”.

The group included a former marine sergeant, an exercise influencer, a rancher and a small swimwear business.Gianforte has argued the law will “protect Montanans’ personal and private data from being harvested by the Chinese Communist party”.Montana’s ban comes amid increasing scrutiny of the Chinese-owned app over its ties to China.

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