North Carolina Elected Officials Call on Governor to Prohibit TikTok

Last month, two North Carolina state representatives called on Governor Roy Cooper’s office to follow in other states’ footsteps by issuing an executive order that would prohibit Tiktok from government devices.

State Representatives Jason Saine and Jon Hardister, sent a letter (pdf) urging Cooper to remove the Chinese video app “swiftly and decisively.” These elected officials view removing TikTok to be a “matter of national security.

“As we know, the Chinese government is constantly working to infiltrate our communications and access intellectual data within the United States,” Saine and Hardister stated. “If sensitive data is breached, it could pose both an economic and security threat for North Carolina. We have a responsibility to prevent this from happening, which is why we are urging an executive order as soon as possible.”

Saine and Hardister made a reference to previous orders, such as the chief administrative officer for the United States House of Representatives issuing an order on December 28, 2022 for all elected officials to delete TikTok on all devices the House manages.

The recently passed $1.7 trillion omnibus bill features legislation prohibiting TikTok from being used on government devices owing to national security concerns.

On top of that, state governments have banned TikTok. By the end of 2022, Indiana became the 20th state to ban the use of TikTok on state devices. 

Similarly, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita  filed two lawsuits against TikTok arguing that the app allegedly made false claims.

“The TikTok app is a malicious and menacing threat unleashed on unsuspecting Indiana consumers by a Chinese company that knows full well the harms it inflicts on users,” Rokita declared in a press release. “With this pair of lawsuits, we hope to force TikTok to stop its false, deceptive and misleading practices, which violate Indiana law.”

In the first lawsuit, Rokita asserted that TikTok drew children onto the platform by using questionable advertising practices. The advertising allegedly stated that the app features only “’infrequent/mild’ sexual content, profanity, or drug references.”

However, Rokita claimed that TikTok is “rife with examples of such material.”

“An essential part of TikTok’s business model is presenting the application as safe and appropriate for children ages 13 to 17,” he stated.

In the second lawsuit, Rokita claimed that TikTok gathered data from its consumers and that it “deceived those consumers to believe that this information is protected from the Chinese government and Communist party.”

“In multiple ways, TikTok represents a clear and present danger to Hoosiers that is hiding in plain sight in their own pockets,” Rokita added. “At the very least, the company owes consumers the truth about the age-appropriateness of its content and the insecurity of the data it collects on users. We hope these lawsuits force TikTok to come clean and change its ways.”

According to a report by Matt McGregor at The Epoch Times, Saine and Hardister said that if Cooper doesn’t follow through with the TikTok ban, they will continue working in the 2023 legislative session to craft legislation that would prohibit TikTok from being used in  government-issued devices in North Carolina.

“However, it is our hope that your office will take swift and immediate action to address this matter in the interest of enhancing our domestic security and protecting our citizens,” they stated.

Instead of trying to pursue a direct military conflict with China, the US should economically decouple and restrict immigration from the East Asian nation. The TikTok ban represents the former effort and lawmakers would be wise to continue doubling down on economic nationalism and avoid any direct clash with China.

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