Montana has expressed confidence in its legal battle against TikTok after the social video giant challenged the state’s sweeping ban in a lawsuit filed on Monday.
By then, Apple and Google’s app stores will be legally prevented from offering TikTok to the entirety of Montana. A fine of $10,000 will be imposed on the stores, as well as TikTok, for every single day they fail to comply.
In its suit, TikTok accuses Montana of violating the First Amendment and other federal laws.
The company aims to reverse the ban, which is expected to affect “hundreds of thousands” of users in the state.
“We are challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana,” TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter said in a statement. “We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts.”
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew also slammed the ban as “unconstitutional.” Chew testified for his company at a House hearing in March.
“We believe that the Montana bill that was recently passed is simply unconstitutional,” Chew said at the ongoing Qatar Economic Forum. “We are confident that we will prevail.”
Last week, a group of five Montana TikTokers also sued the state over the ban.
The plaintiffs — two of whom have more than 200,000 followers — reportedly use the app to promote their businesses, connect with veterans or share outdoor adventures, among other content.
In response to the suits, the state accused the Chinese Communist Party of spying on users and expressed its preparedness to face legal challenges.
Emily Flower, spokesperson for Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, said on Monday:
The Chinese Communist Party is using TikTok as a tool to spy on Americans by collecting personal information, keystrokes, and even the locations of its users — and by extension, people without TikTok who affiliate with users may have information about themselves shared without evening knowing it. We expected legal challenges and are fully prepared to defend the law that helps protect Montanans’ privacy and security.