Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who initially backed a TikTok ban in his home state of Montana, reversed course this week, suggesting the state shouldn’t have banned the “stupid app.”
Montana last week became the first US state to ban TikTok altogether. The move is expected to be legally challenged and will be a testing ground. America without TikTok Some parliamentarians have envisioned it.
A new Montana law bans TikTok downloads in the state, and every time you are “provided with the ability” to access a social media platform or download an app, an app store or an “entity” such as TikTok. will be fined $10,000 per day. Penalties do not apply to users.
After the bill was signed into law by Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, Tester suggested in an interview with local media: harbor daily news, claimed that TikTok should be held accountable for “treasonous” conduct. He also suggested that TikTok CEO Shou Chu’s congressional testimony earlier this year was a “train wreck.”
Montana becomes the first state to ban Tiktok.may be legally challenged
The Times summarized Tester’s comments on the state’s move to ban the use of the app within the state, stating, “Tester was also questioned about Montana’s recent ban on TikTok, and the company deserves scrutiny and has been approved by the state. said it has every right and good reason to ban the app. ”
Testers’ support for TikTok’s “outright ban” was also highlighted by The Washington Post in March. who reported: “Some Democrats support an outright ban, including Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont), who said, ‘Anyone who politicizes this will be severely reprimanded.’ It should be,’ he told Early.”
Tester, who is seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate next year, has previously said, “It would be easy to eliminate opportunities for China to collect data and spy on the U.S. government.” According to Alaska Beacon.
However, the tester Lawsuit from TikTok The lawsuit, filed against the state earlier this week, appears to have had a change of heart about Montana’s ban on the app.
Tiktok sues Montana for full ban on app in state
“So I’m not really interested in banning anything. To be honest, ban it from government phones. There’s nothing wrong with that. But from the general public There are some issues with banning the use of A tester told KGVO, a Missoula radio station. “I’d rather see it happen, but it can’t be done at the state level — well, the attorney general can — but I want the Department of Justice to put these people — the top TikTok — in the forefront. ” Go to court and ask a few questions. And if they are doing treasonous activities, prosecute them. ”
Despite those remarks, Tester’s spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Friday that the senator “has always supported banning TikTok from government devices and has supported legislation to do so. ‘ said.
“Protecting Montana’s freedom and privacy from foreign adversaries like China is one of Sen. Tester’s top priorities,” the spokesperson added. “He believes we need to stop spying on Montanas and supports the right of the state to pass its own laws on the matter, but those measures are not part of Montana’s First Amendment law. There must be a balance between respect for rights.”
Tester’s earlier comments suggesting the state shouldn’t have banned the app came after TikTok’s lawsuit against Montana, which argued that its ban violated the First Amendment.
“To protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana, we are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional ban on TikTok,” a TikTok spokesperson told Fox Business in a statement. rice field. “We believe the legal challenge will prevail, based on a very strong set of precedents and facts.”
TikTok said in its lawsuit that the Montana ban violates plaintiffs’ free speech, is preemptive to federal law, violates the Commerce Clause, and “reflects speculative concerns about TikTok’s data security and content moderation practices.” It argues that Montana’s ban is illegal because it is subject to severe penalties based on law.” . ”
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TikTok is Chinese tech company ByteDancehas come under intense scrutiny from both Democrats and Republicans over concerns it could hand over user data to the Chinese government and spread pro-China propaganda and misinformation on its platform. The app is already banned on federal equipment, including military equipment, and several states are already moving in the same direction for state equipment.
Breck Dumas of Fox Business and Associated Press contributed to this report.