A controversial ban on TikTok in Montana means that come January, this social media platform will be no more in the Treasure State, CNN reported.
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte signed the ban this week, calling it a way to “protect Montanans’ personal and private data from the Chinese Communist Party,” he said in a recent tweet.
The CNN article explains:
The controversial law marks the furthest step yet by a state government to restrict TikTok over perceived security concerns and comes as some federal lawmakers have called for a national ban on TikTok. But it is expected to be challenged in court.
The bill, which will take effect in January, specifically names TikTok as its target, prohibiting the app from operating within state lines. The law also outlines potential fines of $10,000 per day for violators, including app stores found to host the social media application.
TikTok told CNN in a statement that the bill “infringes on the First Amendment rights of the people of Montana.”
The statement also reassured the residents to continue using the app as plans are underway to “defend the rights” of users in and out of the state.
TikTok influencers have also sued the state to overturn the app ban, CNN reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union also believes that the ban is trampling on the free speech rights of “hundreds of thousands” of residents using the app.
The article added that there is no concrete evidence that the Chinese government is interfering with TikTokers’ data.
Why it matters: TikTok has about 150 million American users with hundreds of thousands represented in Montana alone. The writing was on the wall when Gianforte banned the app on government-issued devices and supported the state university’s decision to do the same.
As legal disputes are underway while others wonder what’s next, the lead-up to January’s ban – and reactions and subsequent fallout – will be interesting to see for sure.
While some will take the “wait-and-see approach”, brands, let’s start planning now. Montanan brands – and marketing companies targeting residents – on TikTok, kindly use this opportunity now (time is still slightly on your side) to develop a game plan for your next step before the clock runs out. Other states (and even maybe the federal government) will certainly be watching the surrounding court cases as they decide to enact their own bans — so even if you aren’t worried about reaching this single small state.
Will your brand slowly ease out of TikTok along the way or shut it down now while there’s still a choice? Whatever you decide, ensure that your next step is intentional, carefully planned and communicated.
Now is not the time to leave your followers in the dark – let them know what you will do and take them along that journey. While TikTok is a distinct space and can’t be easily replicated (despite many, many attempts), ask your followers where they’d be willing to follow you next.
According to an April Capterra’s 2023 TikTok Marketer Sentiment Survey, 65% of survey respondents said they would create a new social media strategy overall if TikTok was banned in the country. The survey added that 80% would consider Facebook and 79% would consider YouTube as an alternative.
Finding a platform that works best for you and feels authentic to your brand and your followers is doable. Just ensure that you’re continuing to connect with audiences along the way in whatever decision you make.
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Sherri Kolade is a writer at Ragan Communications. When she is not with her family, she enjoys watching Alfred Hitchcock-style films, reading and building an authentically curated life that includes more than occasionally finding something deliciously fried. Follow her on LinkedIn. Have a great PR story idea? Email her at email@example.com.