TikTok sues Montana over app ban

By Le Figaro with AFP



Montana is the first US state to ban the social network. Dado Ruvic / REUTERS

Lawyers for the video platform argue that its ban “violates the Constitution of the United States”, and in particular the First Amendment which guarantees “freedom of expression”.

TikTok, a subsidiary of the Chinese group ByteDance, filed a complaint on Monday May 22 against Montana, the American state which last week enacted a law to ban the application on January 1, 2024. This ban “violates the Constitution of the United States in multiple ways”says the company, and in particular the first amendment which guarantees the “freedom of expression”according to the document consulted by AFP.

Many US lawmakers believe the platform of short, entertaining videos, frequented by 150 million Americans, allows Beijing to spy on and manipulate users. The company has always denied these accusations. But the Montana parliament adopted a text in mid-April which orders mobile application stores (Apple and Google) to no longer distribute TikTok from January 1, 2024, while Congress and the White House are considering plans to similar law.

Equity principle

“TikTok exercises editorial judgment, a constitutionally protected right, to distribute and promote content created by third parties., say the company’s lawyers. They also argue that the U.S. state does not have the legal authority to ban the app on national security grounds, a federal matter. The complaint also refers to a principle of fairness. “Instead of regulating social networks in general, the law bans TikTok, and only TikTok for punitive reasons (…) based on speculative concerns about data security and content moderation”argue the lawyers.

Democratic representatives had already pointed out during the debates that many criticisms made of TikTok, on data confidentiality, misinformation or the harmful effects on the health of the youngest (addiction, depression) also concern other social networks, such as Instagram. As soon as the governor of this northwestern American state, Greg Gianforte, signed the law into law last Wednesday, many voices were raised to accuse Montana of censorship or to point out that the text would be difficult to enforce, technically and legally. .

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