Montana ban on TikTok blocked, extending critics’ losing streak

A federal judge has blocked Montana’s ban on the Chinese-made social media app TikTok, extending the critics’ losing streak in their efforts to restrict the platform. The Montana ban, signed by Governor Greg Gianforte in April, barred any state agency from using the app, which has become popular among teenagers. U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen’s decision issues a preliminary injunction against the ban, ruling that it violated First Amendment rights and could not legally be enforced. The ruling follows earlier decisions from federal judges in Arkansas and Pennsylvania who blocked similar bans in the states they presided over. In each case, the bans would have prohibited government employees from downloading and using TikTok on state-owned devices. Critics of TikTok have argued that the app poses a threat to national security due to its ownership by the Chinese company ByteDance, and some have called for it to be blocked from the US entirely. The US Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission are currently investigating ByteDance as they consider a potential divestiture of the US-operations of TikTok. Nevertheless, the string of legal defeats have demonstrated the difficulty in preventing the use of TikTok, with various critics’ efforts facing the same legal roadblocks.

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