Montana is going to become the first US state to prohibit the Chinese-owned media company TikTok from use on personal devices.
Governor Greg Gianforte signed the prohibition into law on Wednesday. It will take effect on January 1.
According to the video-sharing network, the prohibition “infringes on the people of Montana’s First Amendment rights.”
TikTok has drawn the attention of authorities throughout the world due to worries of data leaks to the Chinese government.
Mr. Gianforte, a Republican, told legislators that a broader prohibition would advance “our shared priority to protect Montanans from Chinese Communist Party surveillance.”
TikTok stated in a statement that “hundreds of thousands of people” in Montana use its app.
“We want to reassure Montanans that they can continue using TikTok to express themselves, earn a living, and find community as we continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana,” it added.
TikTok will file a legal challenge to the legislation.
Montana lawmakers voted 54 to 43 last month to prohibit TikTok from use on personal devices.
The rule makes it unlawful for app shops to sell TikTok. But it does not prohibit existing TikTok users from utilizing it.
Montana, which has a population of slightly over one million people, banned the software on government devices in December.
TikTok claims to have 150 million American users. Its app’s user base has grown in recent years. Still, it is most popular among adolescents and users in their twenties.
However, there are fears across the political spectrum in the United States that TikTok might pose a national security danger.
Links to China
ByteDance, a Chinese firm, owns TikTok.
A congressional committee questioned TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew in March. They asked him if the Chinese government might access user data or affect what Americans view on the app.
Mr. Shou frequently stated that it would never spy on Americans. He acknowledged that workers had exploited journalists’ TikTok accounts to gather information on them.
Earlier this month, the US authorities stated that ByteDance either sell TikTok or risk a ban in the nation.
Individual users are not subject to the penalty. Firms who violate the statute face fines of up to $10,000 enforced by the Montana Department of Justice.
It means that digital titans like Apple and Google might face fines if they allow TikTok downloads from their app stores in Montana.
ByteDance, the company that owns TikTok, frequently denies control by the Chinese government.