Judge Blocks Montana's TikTok Ban

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    The Facts

    • District Judge Donald Molloy blocked Montana's ban on TikTok — scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1 — on Thursday, noting it violated users' free speech rights and the Constitution "in more ways than one."

    • The ban "oversteps state power," Judge Molloy ruled. In May, TikTok sued Montana, arguing that the state's legislation prohibiting the app violated the company and users' constitutional rights.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    The Department of Justice is probing ByteDance's use of TikTok data to spy on US journalists. Montana's ban says the app can operate unfettered if it severs its connection with ByteDance. Given how murky Chinese companies are, such a ban is necessary to keep Americans safe from a prying China. Hopefully, more US states will follow Montana's path.

    Pro-China narrative

    Leaders on both sides of the aisle are leading a cynical assault against TikTok to foment anti-China sentiment, with there being not one shred of evidence that the app is used for espionage purposes by China. TikTok collects no more data than American tech platforms but is under much more scrutiny. The TikTok crusade is bordering on hysteria, as US leaders ignore the grave privacy concerns posed by Western social media platforms.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 1% chance that the US will ban TikTok before 2024, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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