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Montana Appeals US Judge’s Decision Blocking TikTok Ban

 |  January 3, 2024

Montana, on Tuesday, announced its decision to appeal a U.S. judge’s ruling from November that halted the implementation of the state’s groundbreaking ban on the popular short-video sharing app, TikTok. The state’s Attorney General, Austin Knudsen, filed a notice indicating that the appeal is being directed to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Originally slated to go into effect on January 1, Montana’s TikTok ban was temporarily thwarted by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy’s issuance of a preliminary injunction on November 30. In his decision, Judge Molloy asserted that Montana’s law “violates the Constitution in more ways than one” and argued that it “oversteps state power.”

According to Reuters, Montana’s move to ban TikTok had been met with resistance not only from the Chinese-owned app but also from TikTok users within the state. Last year, they filed a lawsuit challenging the ban, expressing concerns about the protection of personal data and potential Chinese espionage.

Related: Creators Fight Back Against Montana’s TikTok Ban

Neither TikTok nor Attorney General Knudsen’s office provided immediate comments following the announcement of the appeal. Judge Molloy had previously set a deadline of January 16 for preliminary pretrial statements.

In earlier court filings, TikTok contended that it has not shared, and would not share, U.S. user data with the Chinese government. The company asserted that it had implemented significant measures to safeguard the privacy and security of its users.

Judge Molloy criticized Montana’s attempt to exert foreign policy authority typically held by the federal government, deeming the state’s action as overly broad in its scope. While some in Congress have sought to ban TikTok or grant the Biden administration powers to impose restrictions on foreign-owned apps, these efforts have encountered obstacles.

It is noteworthy that TikTok has faced various challenges in the United States, including attempts by the former President, Donald Trump, in 2020 to ban new downloads of TikTok and the Chinese-owned app WeChat.

Source: Reuters