New Data Shows Montana’s Interesting Relationship With TikTok
One of the biggest stories of 2023 was when Montana's government placed a ban on the popular Chinese-owned social media app, TikTok. Senate Bill 419 was intended to protect Montana's privacy and Governor Gianforte signed the bill in May of 2023.
Here's a pretty good description of the bill and what it prevented from a Montana creator:
Since May, there have been a series of events that eventually culminated in a preliminary injunction from Federal Judge Donald Molloy. Here's a brief recap:
- February 2023: U.S. government mandates that federal employees delete TikTok
- May 2023: Governor Gianforte signs legislation banning the use of the TikTok app in Montana
- May 2023: Nationwide poll shows wide opposition to the ban
- May 2023: Lawsuit filed against Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen by TikTok creators from Montana
- November 2023: Federal Judge blocks the TikTok ban saying it's unconstitutional
In a story from CBS News about the preliminary injunction, Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen points out that legal arguments will continue. Knudsen quoted Molloy as saying "...the analysis could change as the case proceeds and the State has the opportunity to present a full factual record."
How Does Montana Feel About TikTok?
In light of the TikTok ban proceedings potentially continuing, a new study has measured interest in the TikTok app in general. This may be surprising, or it may not be, but the numbers suggest that Montana doesn't care about TikTok.
Using Google search data with terms that had to do with TikTok, the company QRFY analyzed and ranked data for all 50 states and found that Montana was the second least interested state in TikTok. Wyoming was ranked as the least interested overall.
Montana had 2,439 searches per 100,000 people according to the data from QRFY. The state most interested in TikTok? California. California's search volume was more than double Montana's.
This could be related simply to the size differences in population between Montana and California (New York was ranked third most interested in TikTok, for example). But it could also be that despite the national attention our state received for its relationship with TikTok, that maybe the app isn't that influential in our state.
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