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With Montana TikTok Ban, What Does This Mean for Massachusetts?

The state of Montana has banned TikTok. So what does that mean for Massachusetts and its users? And is this even legal?

For some, scrolling TikTok is just for fun. For others, it’s a creative outlet and even financial stability.

“I’ve built, kind of, a full-time business off of this,” said Tommy Guarino, a social media influencer.

Social media influencers like Guarino are concerned after the governor of Montana signed legislation banning TikTok statewide.

“TikTok going away, that would really take away a big income stream,” said Guarino.

Other Boston influencers, like Brittany Dicapua, are worried the ban could make it to Massachusetts and have significant effects on users.

“It is a community. People when they felt lonely or that they had no one to talk to went to TikTok to gain affection in a way,” said Dicapua.

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte claims the bill addresses national security risks and while U.S. lawmakers have questioned TikTok’s CEO Shou Zi Chew about harmful content and foreign governments’ access to U.S. citizens, the app said the ban is unconstitutional.

Tiktok spokesperson Brooke Oberwetter wrote to WBZ, in part, “Governor Gianforte has signed a bill that infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana.”

So what could this ban in Montana mean for Masschusetts?

“This kind of ban in Massachusetts would similarly fail to a constitutional challenge,” said Jennifer Roman, a Boston-based attorney who claims the ban infringes on a persons’ right to free speech.

“The states have the ability to limit and restrict free speech. If there’s some sort of immediate threat, that’s really hard to establish here when you’re making a blanket ban on an app that’s used for a whole variety of communication reasons,” said Roman.

However, Massachusetts State Rep. Michael Soter claims there is an immediate threat and supports the ban. 

“A total ban could trigger constitutional challenges that would be counter-intuitive to the goal we are trying to accomplish here, protecting our government and our residents sensitive data,” said Soter in a statement.

Tiktok told WBZ they plan to fight the ban, joined by civil rights groups including the ACLU. The ban in Montana will take effect in Montana on January 1.

WBZ did reach out to Gov. Healey’s office but did not immediately hear back.

Source: CBS