Montana Appeals, After Judge Blocked State Ban On TikTok Use


Montana Attorney General files appeal, after US judge blocked first ever state ban on use of short video-sharing app

The Montana Attorney General has confirmed that the US state has filed an appeal, after a judge late last year had blocked the US state from banning the use of TikTok.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen filed a notice that the state is appealing the ruling to the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals, Reuters reported.

Montana in May 2023 had become the first US state to pass a ban on the use of TikTok that prevented app stores from distributing the app in the state, starting on 1 January, 2024.

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Montana ban

Montana’s state legislature cited concerns about the personal data of Montana users and potential Chinese spying as the reasoning to ban TikTok’s use in the state.

It came after many US states, along with the US federal government, had already banned TikTok from government devices over concerns data collected by the app could be accessed by Chinese authorities.

Some US lawmakers are seeking a nationwide ban on TikTok.

Shortly after the Montana ban, TikTok (owned by Beijing-based ByteDance), filed a lawsuit against Montana, arguing that it violates the First Amendment free speech rights of the company and users.

Montana is also being sued in federal court by five Montana TikTok users, who are seeking to block the ban.

In July TikTok had asked a US judge to block enforcement of the Montana state ban before it took effect on 1 January 2024.

Then in November 2023 US District Judge Donald Molloy issued a preliminary injunction to block the Montana ban on the Chinese-owned app, saying the state ban “violates the Constitution in more ways than one” and “oversteps state power.”

Montana appeal

But now Reuters has reported that Montana on Tuesday said it was appealing a decision by the US judge in November.

TikTok and Knudsen’s office did not immediately comment, Reuters reported.

Judge Molloy had previously said preliminary pretrial statements were due by 16 January.

Judge Molloy in November had reportedly found merit in numerous arguments raised by TikTok and referenced what he termed “the pervasive undertone of anti-Chinese sentiment that permeates” the state’s legal case and legislation.

Judge Molloy said Montana sought to exercise foreign policy authority held by the federal government and the state’s action was too sweeping.