Montana became the “first US state” to outlaw TikTok on personal phones.

In order to safeguard citizens from alleged Chinese intelligence gathering, Montana Governor, Greg Gianforte on Wednesday signed legislation prohibiting “Chinese-owned TikTok” from operating in the state. This makes Montana the “first U.S. state” to do so. To outlaw the well-known short video app.

Montana won’t impose any penalties on users of TikTok, but it will make it illegal for Google and Apple’s app stores to offer the service there. The ban will go into effect on January 1, 2024, and is almost certainly going to run into legal issues.

When Reuters inquired about potential legal action, TikTok, which is owned by Chinese tech company ByteDance, made no comment.

In a previous statement, TikTok asserted that the new law abuses the “First Amendment rights” of the citizens of Montana by forcing out TikTok and that it would “keep going to work to protect the privacy of our customers within and outside of Montana.”

With over 150 million users in the United States, TikTok has come under increasing pressure. S. As a result of worries about possible Chinese government influence on the platform, lawmakers and state officials have decided to outlaw the app nationwide.

Teenagers now use the app in astronomical numbers. The Pew Research Centre reports that 67% of U.S. TikTok is used by teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17, and 16% of all teenagers say they use the app almost constantly. According to TikTok, the “vast majority” of its users are older than 18.

Shou Zi Chew, the CEO of TikTok, was questioned by a congressional committee in March about whether the Chinese government could access user data or affect what Americans saw on the app. However, calls to outlaw TikTok nationwide or grant the Biden administration new authority to impose restrictions or outlaw TikTok have not made headway in Congress.

Republican Gianforte claimed the legislation will advance “our common goal of safeguarding Montanans from Chinese Communist Party spying.”

TikTok has consistently denied sharing data with the “Chinese government” and stated that it would not do so if requested.