Montana Governor Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed legislation to ban TikTok's operation in the state, making it the first U.S. state to ban the popular short video app.
Montana will make it unlawful for Google and Apple's app stores to offer TikTok within the state, but will not impose any penalties on individuals using the app. The ban is to take effect January 1, 2024, and is almost certain to face legal challenges.
Montana, which has a population of just over 1 million people, said TikTok could face fines for each violation and additional fines of $10,000 per day if it violates the ban. The companies offering the TikTok app in their app stores would also be fined $10,000 per violation, per day.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) slammed the law as "unconstitutional" and noted that it will go into effect on January 1 if the courts do not act.
Earlier, TikTok issued a statement saying that the new law "infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana by unlawfully banning TikTok," and said it will "continue working to defend the rights of our users inside and outside of Montana."
TikTok, which has over 150 million American users, has faced growing calls from U.S. lawmakers and state officials to ban the app nationwide over concerns about data privacy.
In March, a congressional committee grilled TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew about whether the Chinese government could access user data or influence what Americans see on the app. TikTok has repeatedly denied that it has ever shared data with the Chinese government and has said the company would not do so if asked.
The calls to ban TikTok nationwide or give the Biden administration new powers to crack down or ban TikTok have not advanced in Congress.
TikTok is working on an initiative called Project Texas, which creates a standalone entity to store American user data in the U.S. on servers operated by U.S. tech company Oracle.