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TikTok ban backers in Montana claim that the risks outweigh the advantages



Bozeman, Montana – The Montana state legislature is considering a bill that would prohibit the use of TikTok, and those who support the measure argue that security should take precedence over fun.

Jere Ellison, a native of Bozeman, claims that losing TikTok wouldn’t impact how he uses social media.

“It’s not a huge issue in terms of like, quality of life, but it’d be nice to get videos from a site that’s not going to be feeding information to China,” says Ellison. “Like there’s plenty of other media sources that are just going to feed the same videos anyway.”

TikTok became one of the most well-known apps in 2019 and saw the majority of its growth.

The Montana Senate approved the bill to outlaw Tik Tok, and it is now on its way to the House.

Senator Shelley Vance stated, “The application represents a huge threat to our national security,” in a statement made public a few weeks ago.

Each day the app is available in app stores, the Montana Department of Justice will fine TikTok or app shops $10,000.

TikTok could potentially be used as a weapon by the Chinese government, according to Digital Progress Institute President Joel Thayer.

“TikTok may be used as a tool to potentially spy on everyday Americans,” says Thayer. “You have the Chinese government that is clearly looking to militarize their own A.I. machines, and they are attempting to find ways to gather data that would be helpful to inform their own A.I. capabilities.”

According to Thayer, TikTok has about 80 million users, the majority of them are young people.

“There are elements of a criminal contingent that likes to use these types of social media platforms to entice children into child pornography and even get them into sex trafficking,” says Thayer.

Given that both the Trump and Biden administrations are looking at these concerns, he thinks that they are large of a nonpartisan nature.

Thayer predicts that Tik Tok won’t just be removed from the app store if the measure is passed, despite Montana’s existing ban on using it on official devices.

“My instinct is that when it’s removed from the App Store, it actually can be removed off the phone itself. So it becomes like a dead app,” says Thayer.

Ellison won’t be particularly affected by the shift, though.

“I mean, it wouldn’t be the worst thing,” says Ellison.

Before any amendments can be made, the bill that was given to the Judiciary Committee on March 15 must be approved by the Montana House and signed by Governor Greg Gianforte.

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