Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed a bill Wednesday banning TikTok in the state.
Gianforte tweeted that he has banned TikTok in Montana “to protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party,” officially making it the first state to ban the social media application.
The controversial law marks the furthest step yet by a state government to restrict TikTok over perceived security concerns and comes as some federal lawmakers have called for a national ban of TikTok. But it is expected to be challenged in court.
potential fines of $10,000 per day for violators, including app stores found to host the social media application.
Last month, lawmakers in Montana’s House of Representatives voted 54-43 to pass the bill, known as SB419, sending it to Gianforte’s desk.
In a statement to CNN, TikTok said it would push to defend the rights of users in Montana.
“Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok, a platform that empowers hundreds of thousands of people across the state. 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.”
The law comes as TikTok faces growing criticism for its ties to China. TikTok is owned by China-based ByteDance. Many US officials have expressed fears that the Chinese government could potentially access US data via TikTok for spying purposes, though there is so far no evidence that the Chinese government has ever accessed personal information of US-based TikTok users.