18 States Supported Montana in First Amendment Hearings

While we’re still waiting to hear whether there will be a federal ban on TikTok, about 18 state attorneys general support Montana’s statewide ban on the short-video app. The ban is due to take effect on January 1, 2024.

TikTok is seeking to overturn the ban on the grounds that it violates video creators’ First Amendment rights to free speech. The application is one of the most popular in the world, used by about a third of the US population…

The uncertainty of Montana’s TikTok ban

While early talk of a federal ban on TikTok dates back to the previous administration, Montana decided not to wait, enacting a statewide ban back in May. The state claims that users’ personal data may have been accessed by the Chinese Communist Party.

However, although the bill was approved and signed into law by Gov. Greg Gianforte, it was only one step in a somewhat uncertain process.

One reason for the uncertainty is: how will the ban be enforced? The law does not prohibit state residents from using the app, only TikTok’s owner, Bytedance, allows them to do so. How Bytedance can prevent Montanans from downloading and using the app is entirely unclear.

But the second reason is that Bytedance immediately challenged the law, saying it violated its creators’ First Amendment rights to free speech. The court is expected to rule on the matter next month.

18 State Attorneys General Support Montana

Reuters reports that 18 state attorneys general have asked the court to rule in Montana’s favor.

A group of 18 state attorneys general said Monday they support Montana’s efforts to ban the Chinese-owned short-video app TikTok, urging a U.S. judge to dismiss the lawsuits ahead of a Jan. 1 effective date.

State attorneys general led by Virginia, which includes Georgia, Alaska, Utah, Indiana, Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky and South Dakota, said the TikTok and user lawsuits should be dismissed “because TikTok is intentionally engaging in deceptive business practices.” which encourages people to share sensitive personal information that can be easily accessed by the Chinese Communist Party, and because the TikTok platform is harming children in Montana.”

TikTok fights deepfakes and other artificial content

Separately, it’s worth noting that TikTok is stepping up efforts to address the problem posed by deepfakes—realistic-looking video fakes of public figures talking to the camera. Some of them can be extremely persuasive and are becoming increasingly easier to create.

The company recently updated its policies to allow the removal of deep fakes and require creators to identify AI-generated content.

TechCrunch reports that TikTok is making compliance easier today with a new tool that allows creators to claim that content was created by artificial intelligence. The company is also testing tools to make it easier to detect untagged AI content.

Photo: Solen Feyissa/Unsplash