A federal judge in Montana blocked the state’s ban on TikTok, stating that it oversteps state power and targets China more than protecting consumers.
The judge issued a preliminary injunction stating that TikTok made better arguments and demonstrated a likelihood to succeed on the merits.
The ban would have extended beyond government-owned devices and networks and was part of a larger Republican-backed effort. (Trending: Greta Thunberg Caught on Video Going Full Anti-Semite)
A federal judge has temporarily blocked Montana’s ban on TikTok that was supposed to go into effect in January. pic.twitter.com/KonVgD1MRx
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) December 1, 2023
The judge expressed support for the idea that the ban violates the First Amendment and probably violates the First Amendment.
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said the ban, “oversteps state power” and was an attempt to target “China’s ostensible role in TikTok” more than an effort to protect Montana consumers.
Emilee Cantrell, a spokeswoman for Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, who drafted the law, said in a statement that the judge had indicated “the analysis could change as the case proceeds and the State has the opportunity to present a full factual record.”
“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,” Cantrell said.
Alex Haurek, a TikTok spokesman, said in a statement, “We are pleased 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.”
It's time to ban TikTok. pic.twitter.com/7Qdo4P7abx
— Senator Marco Rubio (@SenMarcoRubio) November 25, 2023
The TikTok creators’ lawyers had also argued in their complaint that the ban attempted “to exercise powers over national security that Montana does not have and to ban speech Montana may not suppress.”
“Maybe they could persuade him, but it looks unlikely,” Tobias said of the state’s attorneys. “He clearly says there wasn’t much evidence there, and a lot of the evidence cuts against Montana.”
David Greene, EFF’s director of civil liberties, said, “Many Montanans use TikTok to communicate with local and global audiences. We are pleased that a federal judge has blocked the state from violating their rights by banning this speech platform.”
The ban was also found to violate the Constitution in multiple ways.
The ban would have depended on Apple and Google app stores to enforce, but both companies said they don’t track which states users are in when they download an app.