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Montana State Legislature Passes Law to Fully Ban TikTok 

Photo created by Alexander Shatov via Unsplash

Montana State Legislature Passes Law to Fully Ban TikTok 

By Movieguide® Contributor 

Montana’s state legislature passed a bill last Friday that would fully ban TikTok in its state starting in 2024; Gov. Greg Gianforte has yet to state if he will sign the bill into law. 

“The People’s Republic of China is an adversary of the United States and Montana and has an interest in gathering information about Montanans, Montana companies and the intellectual property of users to engage in corporate and international espionage,” the bill said. 

“[The Chinese Government] exercises control and oversight over ByteDance, like other Chinese corporations, and can direct the company to share user information, including real-time physical locations of users,” the bill continued. 

“TikTok fails to remove, and my even promote, dangerous content that directs minors to engage in dangerous activities,” the bill added.

Under this legislation, TikTok would face fines of up to $10,000 per day per violation if it continued to operate in the state. Montana could also apply penalties to Apple or Google if they allowed users in the state to download the social media app after the ban was imposed. 

The outright ban of TikTok is the final step in multiple stages of banning that have already occurred in Montana. In December, Gov. Gianforte signed a law that banned the app from state devices, and the state’s university system later banned the app per the governor’s suggestion. 

While many states, as well as the federal government, have considered a TikTok ban due to national security concerns as well as concerns for child safety, Montana would be the first to pass a law making it fully illegal for anyone to use the app. 

The passing of this bill comes after a federal congressional hearing last month where lawmakers expressed their doubts about the safety of the app and grilled CEO Shou Zi Chew about China’s influence over the company. 

The Biden administration has continued to threaten a nationwide ban of the app unless Chinese-owned ByteDance sells its stake in the company, a move that has bipartisan support. The Montana bill would also roll back restrictions if ByteDance no longer owned the social media site. 

A survey last month found that 50% of American Adults support banning the app, although among adults that use the app, only 19% support a ban. The reasons for a ban center around national security and child safety concerns. 

TikTok has previously faced multiple lawsuits in the U.S. for the content that it pushes to younger audiences such as drug usage, alcohol, and harmful challenges or trends. The site has also been criticized for exposing children to disturbing content such as suicide-centered content in the past. 

Movieguide® previously reported on TikTok’s neglect of child safety: 

Parents who lost their son to suicide admonished the CEO of TikTok for the platform’s lack of safety features and the inaction against disturbing content during congressional hearings last week. 

Dean and Michelle Nasca lost their 16-year-old son Chase to suicide after he watched thousands of unsolicited violent and suicidal TikToks. The couple appeared before congress last week to recount their son’s death and the culpability TikTok has in the matter. 

“Your company destroyed their lives,” Representative Gus Bilirankis told TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about the teenager’s parents. “His ‘For You’ page was sadly a window to discover suicide. It’s unacceptable, sir!” 

While Chew responded about the company’s efforts to increase user safety, his answers seemed little more than lip service. 

“[Chew’s] not concerned with anything of dealing with this,” Dean Nasca said. “His concern is with China. This doesn’t scare him. China scares him, so he’s not going to modify his behavior because there isn’t really a threat here.” 

“I heard him say, ‘We’re very serious about safety,’ it must have been about 30 times,” Nasca continued. “But he hasn’t offered a single piece of what they plan to do to correct this.” 

Along with testifying before congress, the couple has filed a lawsuit against TikTok and its parent company ByteDance to make change and seek justice for their son. 

“I didn’t understand or I wasn’t aware that there was this much of it going on,” Michelle Nasca said after the hearing. “I certainly have my own personal experience with it, what happened to our son. I wasn’t aware that it is as broad as it is across the country.” 

Their lawsuit was filed earlier this month in the Suffolk County Supreme Court alleging their son was “targeted, overwhelmed, and actively goaded” into committing suicide. 

“The TikTok defendant know that violent, dangerous, extreme and psychologically disturbing content triggers a greater dopamine response in minors than safe and benign content,” the 91-page lawsuit said

“To maximize user engagement and increase profits, TikTok creates and co-creates such content and deliberately targets children in the United States with violent, dangerous, extreme and psychologically disturbing content from which they can’t look away,” the complaint continued. 

Chase did not intentionally seek out violent or suicidal content yet was bombarded by multiple hours of it anyway. The constant stream of disturbing content tragically led him to take his own life. 

Concern over child safety is just one of the reasons congress is weighing a potential TikTok ban nationwide. Already the app is banned from governmental devices due to national security concerns and the current congressional hearings will determine how far the ban will extend. 

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4000+ Faith Based Articles and Movie Reviews – Will you Support Us?

Our small team works tirelessly to provide resources to protect families from harmful media, reviewing 415 movies/shows and writing 3,626 uplifting articles this year. We believe that the gospel can transform entertainment. That’s why we emphasize positive and faith-filled articles and entertainment news, and release hundreds of Christian movie reviews to the public, for free. No paywalls, just trusted, biblically sound content to bless you and your family. Online, Movieguide is the closest thing to a biblical entertainment expert at your fingertips. As a reader-funded operation, we welcome any and all contributions – so if you can, please give something. It won’t take more than 52 seconds (we timed it for you). Thank you.