RETALIATION: TikTok Users Sue Montana over Ban of Chinese Gov’t-Tied App

May 19th, 2023 2:37 PM

Some users of the communist Chinese government-tied TikTok are suing the state of Montana for banning the app that poses a serious data security hazard.

“A court battle over First Amendment rights kicked off in Montana on Thursday after a group of TikTok users challenged the state’s new TikTok ban, which is set to take effect Jan. 1 and is the first of its kind in the nation,” The New York Times reported May 18. The TikTok users claimed a violation of the First Amendment, which is ironic considering TikTok’s strong ties to the censorious Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte (R) signed the legislation this week. Once the law takes effect, Montana will fine TikTok for operating there. It will also fine app store providers that offer TikTok in Montana, including Apple and Google. Five Montana residents who “create, publish, view, interact with and share videos on TikTok” have filed a lawsuit to stop the law, The Times reported. The lawsuit claims the ban is beyond Montana’s legal authority, while the state attorney general’s office said it is “fully prepared to defend the law,” according to the Times.

The lawsuit attempts to make the TikTok ban a violation of the First Amendment, The Times noted. It claims Montana “can no more ban its residents from viewing or posting to TikTok than it could ban The Wall Street Journal because of who owns it or the ideas it publishes.” But it’s not a matter of “disliking” TikTok’s content or owners. Based on evidence the CCP can access detailed TikTok user data, many lawmakers and experts have labeled TikTok a national security risk.

Several experts decried TikTok as a national security threat in March in exclusive comments to MRC Free Speech America. “[TikTok is] very much authentically part of a foreign state that has shown itself and declared itself to use networks like this both to gather [data] and to influence,” former member of the Defense Intelligence Community Scott Kieff said.

The CCP also happens to own a board seat and a financial stake in TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. Multiple whistleblowers and an investigation have presented evidence that ByteDance has direct access to U.S. TikTok data. A new lawsuit from a former ByteDance executive even alleges that the CCP can access U.S. ByteDance data and that ByteDance pushes CCP propaganda on TikTok. In fact, ByteDance was just reportedly caught with a digital library of forbidden word lists used to censor people who decry its Communist Chinese overlords.

TikTok also has a checkered history of bias and censorship. In August 2022, MRC Free Speech America found that TikTok “permanently banned” 11 pro-free speech organizations, which is made worse by the platform’s connections to the Beijing government. 

Conservatives are under attack. Contact TikTok via email at and demand Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment and provide transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.