First US state to ban: Montana legislature approves Tiktok-Aus

First US state with ban
Montana legislature votes Tiktok off

In the US, the pressure on the Chinese-dominated social media app Tiktok is growing. Montana is the first state to introduce a sweeping ban. Behind this is the concern that Beijing could use the service to spy on US citizens.

The Montana House of Representatives has a Law to ban the Chinese-developed social media app Tiktok. If Montana’s governor signs the law into law, which is likely, the ban would go into effect in January. The new rule would ban app stores from offering the app, and Tiktok would no longer be allowed to operate as a business in the northwestern state. Users who already have the app on their devices would not be affected. Montana is the first state to pass such sweeping legislation.

In the US, Tiktok, which belongs to the Chinese internet group Bytedance, is coming under increasing political pressure. President Joe Biden’s administration has already banned the app from government employees’ phones. The background is concerns that Chinese authorities and secret services could collect information about Americans via Tiktok and influence them politically. At the end of March, Tiktok boss Shou Zi Chew had to answer questions in the US Congress. He met with distrust and rejection from both Republican and Democratic MPs.

Chinese founders are in control

Tiktok has more than a billion users and is the most successful non-US online platform in western countries. The company rejects all suspicions and emphasizes that it does not see itself as a subsidiary of a Chinese company. Bytedance is 60 percent owned by Western investors and the company is based in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. Critics counter that the Chinese founders held 20 percent of the control thanks to higher voting rights and that Bytedance has a large headquarters in Beijing.

After the vote in Parliament in Montana, the US broadcaster CNN quoted a Tiktok spokeswoman as saying that her company would continue to fight for the rights of users and creative people in the state.

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