Federal judge temporarily blocks Montana’s TikTok ban (Nextgov)

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    Federal judge temporarily blocks Montana’s TikTok ban – By Chris Teale (Nextgov) / Dec 6, 2023

    U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said in his preliminary injunction that the first-of-its-kind state law “likely” violates the First Amendment. A trial to review its legal authority could still reinstate the ban.

    Montana’s statewide ban on TikTok is in limbo after a federal judge granted a temporary injunction against the first-in-the-nation law before it takes effect next month.

    U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said the ban, which Gov. Greg Gianforte signed in May and was set to take effect Jan. 1, 2024, “oversteps state power” and is “unlikely to pass even intermediate scrutiny” as it likely violates the First Amendment’s protection of free speech. Molloy said the app is a “means of expression” used by over 300,000 Montana residents and that Montana legislators had other things on their mind than consumer safety when they passed the legislation.

    “Despite the State’s attempt to defend SB 419 as a consumer protection bill, the current record leaves little doubt that Montana’s legislature and Attorney General were more interested in targeting China’s ostensible role in TikTok than with protecting Montana consumers,” Molloy wrote in his ruling.

    The lawsuit was filed against the bill by TikTok and a group of content creators and follows an October hearing in federal court. Molloy said he granted the preliminary injunction against the law as the plaintiffs offered “the better arguments” and were more likely to succeed “on the merits.”

    CONTINUE > https://www.nextgov.com/digital-government/2023/12/federal-judge-temporarily-blocks-montanas-tiktok-ban/392540/?oref=ng-skybox-hp

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