The first in the United States! A comprehensive ban on TikTok has been announced! Violators will be fined 70,000 yuan per day

Comprehensive ban on TikTok in the US announced with daily fine of 70,000 yuan for violators

Montana State in the United States Completely Bans TikTok

On the 17th, according to Reuters, the government of Montana in the United States announced in the early morning that the state will completely ban TikTok, a popular short video social platform developed by the Chinese technology company “ByteDance”. This also makes Montana the first state in the United States to completely ban TikTok. Montana will require Google and Apple’s app stores to illegally provide TikTok in the state. The ban will take effect on January 1, 2024 and is almost certain to face legal challenges. Prior to this, TikTok issued a statement stating that the new law “illegally prohibits TikTok from infringing on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana” and stated that it will “continue to work to defend the rights of users inside and outside of Montana”. TikTok has more than 150 million American users, and lawmakers and state officials in the United States are increasingly calling for the application to be banned nationwide due to concerns about China’s potential influence on the platform. The application is popular among teenagers. According to data from the Pew Research Center, 67% of American teenagers aged 13 to 17 use TikTok, and 16% of all teenagers say they use the application almost every day. TikTok has stated that the “vast majority” of its users are over 18 years old. Despite TikTok’s official repeated claims that it has not shared data with any department in China and would refuse to do so if requested, it is clear that it cannot escape the hostility of the United States. Montana State said that TikTok may face fines for each violation, and the short video application can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google App Store. If the ban is violated and downloads are provided, fines of $10,000 (approximately RMB 70,000) per violation per day may be imposed. It is reported that former US President Trump tried to ban new downloads of TikTok and WeChat in 2020 through a Commerce Department order, but was blocked by multiple courts and never took effect.

TikTok Ban Sparks Controversy

Although some American media outlets emphasize that the ban only targets app stores and the TikTok operating company, not individual users, the ban has still sparked controversy in Montana and across the United States. On the 18th, according to Reuters and the Associated Press, five TikTok content creators in Montana filed a lawsuit with the US Federal Court seeking to overturn the state’s ban on TikTok. The lawsuit stated that Montana “attempted to exercise power it does not have over national security and prohibited speech that it cannot suppress”. The TikTok users who filed the lawsuit believe that Montana’s ban on TikTok is unconstitutional and violates freedom of speech. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which advocates for the protection of American citizens’ rights, and NetChoice, a lobbying group for the American technology industry, both believe that Montana’s law violates the US Constitution. In response to Montana’s actions, a TikTok spokesperson stated in a press release that the ban signed by Gianforte is illegal because it infringes on the rights granted to the people of Montana by the First Amendment of the Constitution. The statement also said that the company “will defend the rights of our users in and outside of Montana”. Meanwhile, TikTok also stated that it will fight back against Montana’s law, which violates the US Constitution. On the social media platform Twitter, many American netizens are expressing their dissatisfaction with the ban. Under the post where Montana Governor Gianforte announced the ban on TikTok, although some people support his actions, the comments with more likes express opposition. For example, one netizen’s comment, which received a large number of likes, expressed disgust for the ban on TikTok using a very simple English word: “stupid”.

TikTok Ban Expanded

Meanwhile, the governor of Montana has announced an order to “expand the TikTok ban.” The order states that on government and third-party company devices in Montana, Chinese apps such as WeChat, Temu, CapCut, and Lemon8 will be prohibited from use, and the ban will take effect on June 1st of this year. The order states that, like TikTok, popular social media apps such as WeChat and Temu have been identified by the US Secretary of Commerce as foreign adversaries, and if the aforementioned “software that provides information and data to foreign adversaries” has already been downloaded, it must be removed immediately. The order notes that Temu’s parent company Pinduoduo, headquartered in Shanghai, China, is a Chinese company and should be banned. However, it is surprising that fast-fashion cross-border e-commerce Shein, similar to Temu, has not been classified as a Chinese company and is not included in the ban. According to related data, since Temu officially launched in the US in September last year, as of February 23, 2023, Temu App has been downloaded over 40 million times, with the highest new user growth rate, dominating the AppStore shopping list for 69 days and the Google Play shopping list for 114 days. Currently, Temu has helped tens of thousands of manufacturing companies in China enter overseas markets such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. However, the multiple bans at present undoubtedly bring crisis and challenges to the globalization process of Chinese companies.

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