Multiple state attorneys across the United States have joined forces in a new attempt to ban the use of video sharing and social media app TikTok.
The United States has been trying to ban the use of TikTok for many years now and had little to no success. Former president Donald Trump attempted the first ban, but that initiative was blocked by numerous court decisions.
Joe Biden's efforts to crack down on the use of the app have also stalled as the president is waiting for lawmakers to give the administration more power in this regard. The needed legislation, called the Restrict Act, is currently blocked in Congress.
This is the main reason 18 state attorneys banded together to support Montana's effort to block TikTok, according to a Reuters report. Montana pushed a new law that would effectively ban the social app, and ByteDance, the company making the app, responded by suing in federal court.
TikTok asked the judge for a preliminary injunction set for Oct. 12. In response, 18 states filed a brief in support of Montana.
"TikTok is no ordinary social media company. Its parent company—ByteDance Ltd.—is a Chinese company subject to Chinese law that has admitted to using data gathered through TikTok to surveil Americans," the brief explains.
"The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the political party with unchallenged control of the government of the People's Republic of China, exercises significant influence over ByteDance. Allowing TikTok to operate in Montana without severing its ties to the CCP exposes Montanan consumers to the risk of the CCP accessing and exploiting their data."
The brief also claims that TikTok took measures to ensure its users don't know that the parent company is in China and that it falsely claims that its data is not subject to Chinese law. The goal of the brief is simple: The judge should deny TikTok its motion for a preliminary injunction that would block the application of the law if approved. Montana would become the first state to ban the use of the app for all state citizens, not just for federal employees of official devices, as is the case currently.