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Montana governor accidently tries banning social media

by on04 May 2023

Didn’t think the amendment through

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte, 62, appears to be trying to ban social media with an ill-thought-out "amendatory veto" of the state's unconstitutional "ban TikTok" legislation.

Gianforte revised the law proposing alternative draft language that inadvertently could ban all social media platforms in the state.

The revised language targets any social media application that collects personal information and provides it to a foreign adversary. It sounds fair enough, but it appears that Gianforte did not know that most social media networks collect such information and share it with entities in foreign countries, it would effectively ban all social media in Montana.

First Amendment lawyer Ari Cohn said Gianforte did not understand that the term “personal information” was so broad that you could land a 747 on it.

The law also failed to consider that other laws such as Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) already identified what some of those terms mean. This appears to the likes of Cohn to mean that the types of information that accompany virtually every piece of content posted on social media. If a platform allows that kind of information to be provided to any foreign adversary or a person or entity located within a foreign adversary, Gianforte bans it from Montana.

Another hole is that users living in a country designated as a foreign adversary are also banned. The bill would ban any social media company that allows any user in China, Russia, Iran, or Cuba to see content from a Montana user. Each time a user from one of those countries accesses content, platforms would be subject to a $10,000 fine.


Last modified on 04 May 2023
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