Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte (R) signed the most sweeping restrictions on the popular video-sharing app TikTok, effectively banning it within his state. The move comes as the Chinese-owned property has been under both federal and state scrutiny for years.
The governor said that evidence of Beijing’s ability to use the app “to spy on Americans is well-documented.”
Furthermore, Gianforte said that he was “pleased that we’ve banned the application here in Montana.”
“I wish the bill was broader,” he said.
The Republican added that he would have desired to further ban other social media apps “owned by foreign adversaries.”
While the Treasure State became the first in the nation to bar the app altogether, other states and the federal government had been leery of the Chinese company.
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 22, 2023
Plans to ban TikTok began at the federal level during the Trump administration.
In 2020, Trump issued an executive order that outlined American national security concerns about Chinese-owned and operated apps, such as TikTok and WeChat.
Trump said that TikTok “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users, including Internet and other network activity information such as location data and browsing and search histories.”
He continued, writing that this data allowed the Chinese Communist Party “access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”
Trump said that this could allow China to “build dossiers of personal information for blackmail, and conduct corporate espionage.”
Under the plan Trump initiated, Oracle and Walmart would purchase about 20% total of an American version of the app.
However, after taking office, President Joe Biden reversed Trump’s plans to ban the popular video app.
However, new evidence has emerged over the last several years that led even some in the left-of-center media to publicly speculate that Trump was right.
While Montana is the first state to ban the app outright, a number of state and federal agencies have banned its use.
Earlier this year, Biden ordered federal agencies to delete the app from all government-issued phones.
Several other nations joined the effort, including bans on official use by both Canada and Denmark.