TikTok could soon be a thing of the past for residents in Montana after state lawmakers passed a bill that would ban the app from personal devices in the state.
In a vote of 54 to 43, the Montana House of Representatives voted in favor of a measure Friday that would prohibit the popular social media app that has ties to the Chinese government from operating within the state.
The passage of the bill, known as SB419, comes amid growing concern from several lawmakers and voters that the app may be used by the Chinese to spy on certain aspects of American life.
The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte, who declined to say Friday whether he plans to sign it into law. A statement provided by spokesperson Brooke Metrione said that the governor “will carefully consider” all bills the legislature sends to his desk, according to The Associated Press.
Like several other governors, Gianforte banned TikTok on state government devices last year, saying at the time that the app posed a “significant risk” to sensitive state data.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, whose office drafted the state’s legislation, said in a social media post Friday that the bill “is a critical step to ensuring we are protecting Montanans’ privacy,” even as he acknowledged that a court battle looms.
The measure would prohibit downloads of TikTok in the state and would fine any “entity” — an app store or TikTok — $10,000 per day for each time someone “is offered the ability” to access or download the app. There would not be penalties for users.
TikTok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter promised a legal challenge over the measure’s constitutionality, saying the bill’s supporters “have admitted that they have no feasible plan” to enforce “this attempt to censor American voices…