RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order Thursday that bans the use of TikTok, WeChat and certain other applications and websites on state devices.
"It's important for us to protect state information technology from foreign countries that have actively participated in cyberattacks against the United States," Cooper said. "Protecting North Carolina from cyber threats is vital to ensuring the safety, security, privacy, and success of our state and its people."
The order comes weeks after House Majority Whip Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, and Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, sent a joint letter to the governor expressing concerns about the popular social media app.
"I commend Gov. Roy Cooper for issuing this new guideline prohibiting the use of TikTok on state-issued devices," Hardister said in a statement Thursday. "This is a positive step towards protecting our cybersecurity. As we go into this year's legislative session, the General Assembly will need to consider enacting a permanent statutory solution, along with the creation of a framework to monitor changes in information technology. Moving forward, I will continue to collaborate with the Governor's office, legislative colleagues, and cybersecurity experts to ensure protection of sensitive data in our state government."
U.S. security officials previously raised concerns about TikTok, saying control of the app is in the hands of a Chinese government "that doesn't share our values."
According to the governor's office, cybersecurity professionals have identified TikTok and WeChat as high-risk applications because of their lack of sufficient privacy controls and connections to countries that sponsor or support cyber-attacks against the United States.
The executive order directs the North Carolina Department of Information Technology to develop a policy banning TikTok within 14 days.
"NCDIT's top priority is the security and protection of the state's IT systems, data, and assets," said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver. "Gov. Cooper's Executive Order is essential to this critical work."
Attorney General Josh Stein added: "I'm deeply concerned about data security and privacy on social media platforms. We, not social media companies, should be able to make decisions about what and how much we share, who we share it with, and how it is used. I'm pleased that Gov. Cooper is taking steps to help make the business of our government more secure. I'll continue my work to keep people and their data safe online, especially when it comes to my investigations into how social media platforms affect our children."