State of Montana vs. TikTok Escalates as Tech Giants Apple, Amazon, Google Weigh In

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State of Montana vs TikTok tech giants

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Photo Credit: Ivan Radic / CC by 2.0

The State of Montana vs. TikTok case escalates as two tech groups with backers, including major tech giants Google, Amazon, and Apple, weigh in.

On Monday, two tech groups weighed in, backing TikTok in its lawsuit to prevent enforcement of a statewide ban on the short video-sharing app in Montana. The national trade association NetChoice and tech industry coalition Chamber of Progress contain major tech platforms among their members, including Apple, Amazon, Google, Meta, Twitter, and (unsurprisingly) TikTok.

NetChoice and Chamber of Progress said in a joint court filing that the state’s efforts to cut its people off from TikTok “ignores and undermines the structure, design, and purpose of the internet.”

“If allowed to take effect, the ban will usher in a balkanized internet where information available to users becomes regionally divided based on local politicians’ whims or preferences,” the tech groups said. “The internet, as a whole, will become fragmented and its value to humanity diminished.”

The two tech groups contain many of the same corporate partners, including Amazon, Apple, Google, Airbnb, StubHub, Lyft, and Meta. Chamber of Progress also includes corporate partners like Chime, Circle, DoorDash, Grubhub, Instacart, and Uber. NetChoice contains association members like AOL, Etsy, Hotels.com, Nextdoor, Paypal, Snap, X (formerly Twitter), Yahoo, and TikTok.

After Montana sought to ban the short-form video platform, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, TikTok filed a lawsuit in May in an effort to block the first-of-its-kind state ban under the pretense that it violates the First Amendment rights of the company and its users. A hearing on TikTok’s request for a preliminary injunction is set for October 12.

Estimated to be used by more than 150 million Americans, TikTok has faced increasing calls from US lawmakers for a nationwide ban over concerns about the possibility of misuse by the Chinese government.

Montana’s ban could impose fines of $10,000 for each violation by TikTok; notably, the law does not impose penalties on individual TikTok users. TikTok estimates that around 380,000 people in Montana use the platform — more than a third of the state’s population.

ByteDance and TikTok have insisted that the platform “has not shared, and would not share, US user data with the Chinese government, and has taken substantial measures to protect the privacy and security of TikTok users.” But the fact remains that Chinese-based companies like ByteDance are beholden to the country’s government and do not get a say in whether they share their users’ data if requested.