TikTokers immediately sue to block Montana’s “unconstitutional” ban

Enlarge (credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / Contributor | AFP)

Surprising no one, immediately after Montana became the first state to ban TikTok on Wednesday, five TikTokers in the state with thousands of followers banded together and sued to block the ban. The TikTokers argued that the ban is a huge overstep by the state because it’s “unconstitutional and preempted by federal law.”

According to their complaint, Montana’s claimed interests in enacting the ban to shield minors and prevent foreign spying “are not legitimate and do not support a blanket ban on TikTok. Montana has no authority to enact laws advancing what it believes should be the United States’ foreign policy or its national security interests, nor may Montana ban an entire forum for communication based on its perceptions that some speech shared through that forum, though protected by the First Amendment, is dangerous.”

Citing First Amendment concerns, the TikTokers argued that the ban is “substantially overbroad” and “suppresses far more speech than it may permissibly regulate.” They say that restricting access to content for all users just to address concerns that minors may access some TikTok content that’s “dangerous” goes too far. The First Amendment requires the government to find the “least restrictive means” of regulating speech when the government does have a “compelling” interest. Quite the opposite, Montana’s ban, they argued, is an example of the government finding “the most restrictive means imaginable.”

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