TikTok sued Montana’s attorney general Monday after the governor signed a bill last week that would ban the app statewide.
A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement that it is “challenging Montana’s unconstitutional TikTok ban to protect our business and the hundreds of thousands of TikTok users in Montana. We believe our legal challenge will prevail based on an exceedingly strong set of precedents and facts.”
The federal lawsuit was expected after the bill was passed by Montana’s legislature and sent to the governor’s desk. The ban — the most extreme anti-TikTok bill passed by any state — wouldn’t go into effect until 2024.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said last Wednesday that he signed off on the ban to “protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party.”
The lawsuit calls those concerns “nothing more than unfounded speculation.”
The app, which is owned by China-based company ByteDance, has pushed back in recent months on concerns related to its Chinese ownership.
TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew told a congressional committee in March that the company would not share U.S. user data with the Chinese government, though members of Congress from both parties were skeptical. Many said they support a nationwide TikTok ban.
The suit also claims that the ban violates the First Amendment and the Commerce Clause, which restricts states’ ability to conduct interstate and foreign commerce.
Any laws that deal with federal affairs and national security issues, TikTok argues, should be handled by the federal government, not the states. The app is asking a judge to stop the ban from going into effect.
Last year, President Joe Biden signed off on a law that banned the use of TikTok on devices owned by the federal government. A majority of U.S. states — largely Republican-led governments — as well as some public universities have enacted similar bans.
Montana’s measure goes further in blocking the app from being used on any device in the state, including personal phones and computers.