A federal judge has ruled on the case of Montana’s landmark law banning Communist Chinese government-tied TikTok.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy blocked the TikTok ban, saying the law, which was the first of its kind to take action against the social media platform, was over-broad in its restriction of speech and was therefore unconstitutional.
“While there may be a public interest in protecting Montana consumers, the State has not shown how this TikTok bill does that,” Judge Molloy wrote in his ruling granting the preliminary injunction. “Instead, SB 419 oversteps state power and infringes on the Constitutional rights of users and businesses.”
The law was challenged after ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, filed a lawsuit questioning the law’s constitutionality. In the aftermath, according to CBS News, TikTok spokesperson Jamal Brown said the company was pleased that “the judge rejected this unconstitutional law and hundreds of thousands of Montanans can continue to express themselves, earn a living, and find community on TikTok.”
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, a Republican who argued in favor of the state law, warned the fight to ban the app isn’t over.
“The judge indicated several times that the analysis could change as the case proceeds,” said the spokesperson, according to the Montana Free Press. “We look forward to presenting the complete legal argument to defend the law that protects Montanans from the Chinese Communist Party obtaining and using their data.”
MRC Free Speech America has consistently reported on TikTok’s legal challenges around the globe. In March, one expert told MRC that TikTok is a national security threat in exclusive comments. “[TikTok is] very much authentically part of a foreign state that has shown itself and declared itself to use networks like this both to gather [data] and to influence,” former member of the Defense Intelligence Community Scott Kieff said of the app.
TikTok also has a troubling history of bias and censorship. In August 2022, MRC Free Speech America reported that TikTok “permanently banned” 11 pro-free speech organizations.
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