BOZEMAN — Time is ticking as folks with a hefty following on TikTok prepare for the app’s outright ban in 2024, but one Bozeman resident is willing to go the distance.
His name is Christian William Poole or @swellcchrissyp on TikTok. He calls himself the unofficial ambassador of Montana. A Pepsi distributor by day, when he clocks out, he hops on TikTok where he has over 400,000 followers.
When asked if he makes any money from the videos he posts on TikTok, Poole said, “I do, I make enough for groceries, but that’s not why I got on TikTok, I just like making people laugh.”
Poole says he started out making speech and debate videos, but when he started making content about life in Montana, things took off.
“I started rating towns in Montana on a scale from one 1 to 10,” said Poole. “I’m born and raised in Montana, I’ve lived here my whole life, and I know some funny things about our towns.”
But now, Poole’s hobby that he loves so much might be taken from him.
“I never thought it would get to a level like this,” said Poole.
Last December, Montana banned TikTok on government devices. Now, it is banning the popular platform outright in the state, on January 2024.
But Poole says he isn’t buying it.
“I don’t think it’s gonna happen,” said Poole. “It seems like it’s still going to face a lot of backlash and delays.”
But if the ban does happen, Poole says he might have to hit the road.
“If I miss it that much, I might move out of state,” said Poole.
Even though Poole has some relaxed feelings over the possible ban, others—not so much.
This week, TikTok content creators sued the state, claiming the ban attempts to suppress speech and “exercises power over national security that Montana does not have.”
TikTok itself also filed a lawsuit against Montana, arguing the ban violates the First Amendment.
Folks have a good six months before TikTok is possibly banished from Montana, and Poole says he plans on making the most of it.
“I’m just gonna continue making people laugh, hopefully,” said Poole. “That’s what I’m focused on right now.”