Biden revokes Trump-era TikTok and WeChat ban orders | Social Media News

The White House revokes Trump-era executive orders that attempted to ban TikTok and WeChat, but orders the Commerce Department to conduct a security review of apps made, controlled or supplied by China.

Joe Biden, the President of the United States, has abandoned Trump-era executive orders that attempted to ban popular apps TikTok and WeChat and will conduct his own review aimed at identifying national security risks with related software apps to China.

A new executive order on Wednesday ordered the Commerce Department to undertake what officials described as an “evidence-based” analysis of transactions involving apps made, supplied or controlled by China.

Officials said they were particularly concerned about apps that collect users’ personal data or have ties to Chinese military or intelligence activities.

The department will also make recommendations on how to further protect Americans’ personal genetic and health information, and address the risks of certain software applications linked to China or other adversaries, according to senior administration officials.

Biden’s decision reflects lingering concern that Americans’ personal data could be exposed by popular apps linked to China, a major economic and political rival of the United States.

TikTok declined to comment. WeChat did not immediately comment.

“It’s a positive step in the right direction,” Gao Feng, spokesman for China’s Ministry of Commerce, said at a regular press conference on Thursday.

Gao added that China has noticed that the United States is demanding a new app security review and hopes that “the United States will treat Chinese companies fairly and avoid politicizing economic and trade issues.”

Both the White House and Congress have taken steps to deal with Beijing’s technological advance.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill aimed at boosting U.S. production of semiconductors and the development of artificial intelligence and other technologies in the face of growing international competition.

Earlier this year, the administration backed down former President Donald Trump’s attempts to ban popular video app TikTok, asking a court to postpone a legal dispute as the government begins a broader review of threats to national security posed by Chinese tech companies.

A court filing said the Commerce Department was examining whether Trump’s claims about TikTok’s threat to national security justified attempts to ban it from smartphone app stores and deny it vital tech services. An update to the review was due in a court case later this week.

A proposed US takeover of TikTok is also in limbo. Last year, the Trump administration brokered a deal that would have seen US companies Oracle and Walmart take a major stake in the Chinese-owned app on national security grounds.

The unusual arrangement stemmed from an executive order by Trump that sought to ban TikTok in the United States unless he agreed to a greater degree of American control.

Trump targeted TikTok over the summer of 2020 with a series of orders raising concerns about the US data TikTok collects from its users. Courts temporarily stalled the White House’s attempted ban, and the presidential election quickly eclipsed the fight against TikTok.

TikTok turned to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review Trump’s surrender order and the government’s national security review.