White House drops Trump orders trying to ban TikTok and WeChat

Former president tried to outlaw the popular apps due to their connections to China

The US government will evaluate apps such as TikTok and block those that pose a security risk. Reuters
The US government will evaluate apps such as TikTok and block those that pose a security risk. Reuters

US President Joe Biden revoked bans enacted by former president Donald Trump on the Chinese-owned social media apps TikTok and WeChat on Wednesday.

Instead, the administration will review software applications from foreign adversaries that could pose a risk to Americans’ sensitive data, senior administration officials said.

Mr Biden, in an executive order, has directed Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo to evaluate the apps and block those that pose a security risk.

The order replaces Mr Trump’s actions – aimed specifically at Chinese companies, including TikTok owner ByteDance Ltd and WeChat owner Tencent Holdings Ltd – that tried to ban the use of those apps in the US.

Mr Trump’s measures have been challenged by the companies in US courts.

The new order aims to clarify the criteria that the US views as harming Americans’ sensitive data, the officials said.

This data includes personally identifiable information and genetic information that would go to people directly linked to foreign adversaries, including China, according to a White House fact sheet.

A separate national security review into the sale of TikTok to an American company is ongoing and not connected to Wednesday’s action, a senior administration official said.

The announcement comes as Mr Biden left Washington for a, eight-day trip to Europe, where China is expected to be a major focus of discussion among the G7 nations.

Updated: June 9, 2021 08:46 PM

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