Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill last week banning TikTok in the state, making the Treasure State officially the first in the nation to ban the popular social media app.
Gov. Gianforte tweeted on May 17 that he has banned TikTok in Montana “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”
The bill, which will take effect in January, specifically names TikTok as its target, prohibiting the app from operating within state lines. The law also outlines potential fines of $10,000 per day for violators, including app stores found to host the social media application.
Last month, lawmakers in Montana’s House of Representatives voted 54-43 to pass the bill, known as SB419, sending it to Gov. Gianforte’s desk.
Thirty-four state governments across the United States have recently used their authority over official devices they control to restrict TikTok from smartphones, computers, and WiFi networks. But those restrictions do not extend to personal devices.
Government officials have argued that TikTok, which is owned by the China-based tech giant ByteDance, poses a large security risk to the United States.
U.S. officials have widely expressed fears the Chinese government could potentially gain access to TikTok user data through ByteDance, and that such information could be used to benefit Chinese intelligence or propaganda campaigns. The White House issued guidance in February requiring agencies to delete TikTok from all government-issued devices.
On the same day he banned TikTok in Montana, Gov. Gianforte also signed a separate executive order that prohibits the use of any social media application “tied to foreign adversaries” on government devices, including ByteDance-owned CapCut and Lemon8, and Telegram Messenger – which was founded in Russia.
“TikTok is just one app tied to foreign adversaries,” Gov. Gianforte tweeted. “Today I directed the state’s Chief Information Officer to ban any application that provides personal information or data to foreign adversaries from the state network.”