Montana Passes Bill Blocking Users From Downloading TikTok

Uwa Ede-Osifo, reporting for NBC News:

Montana lawmakers passed a bill Friday blocking downloads of TikTok, the most significant action yet by a state yet against the app. The bill, SB 419, makes it illegal for app stores to give users the option to download the app and also illegal for the company to operate within the state. The bill does not, however, make it illegal for people who already have TikTok to use the app. A previous version of the bill sought to force internet providers to block TikTok, but that language was later removed.

The bill passed by a vote of 54-43.

Putting aside the fact that Montana is a small state (44th in population, 1.1 million people), it just doesn’t seem feasible to ban TikTok at the state level. Even if this goes into law and Apple and Google comply, Montanans can just cross state lines to download it. And what constitutes a “download”? When you buy a new phone and restore from your backup, your phone re-downloads all the apps you had installed on your old phone. Does this mean Montanans who already have TikTok will lose it if they buy a new device, or restore their current one?

I do think the U.S. should ban TikTok nationwide. But it seems futile — silly even — for states to do it piecemeal.

Friday, 14 April 2023