Biden Revokes Trump Order Banning TikTok, But Reiterates Oversight Of Foreign-Owned Apps

By 06/09/2021
Biden Revokes Trump Order Banning TikTok, But Reiterates Oversight Of Foreign-Owned Apps

President Joe Biden has revoked a series of executive orders signed by his predecessor that called for the ban of Chinese-owned social media apps, including TikTok and WeChat, in the U.S.

At the same time as he reversed the orders targeting specific companies, Biden signed a new order reiterating scrutiny over apps that hail from foreign adversaries and operate in the U.S.. Per CNN, the new order states that the Commerce Department will develop criteria for assessing potential national security risks, including the collection of personal data and genetic data. (Notably, TikTok just included the collection of biometric data, including faceprints and voiceprints, to its U.S. privacy policy).

“The Federal Government should evaluate these threats through rigorous, evidence-based analysis and should address any unacceptable or undue risks consistent with overall national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives,” reads Biden’s just-signed order, “including the preservation and demonstration of America’s core values and fundamental freedoms.”

President Trump had previously signed orders attempting to force TikTok’s parent, ByteDance, to spin it off into a U.S.-owned entity. However, TikTok challenged those efforts in court, where the app’s ban was blocked by a federal judge. Meanwhile, CNN reports that TikTok has been in negotiations about data security for months with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, and these talks will be unaffected by the executive order reversal.

CNN reports that though Biden clearly disagrees with Trump’s approach, he and lawmakers across Washington harbor concerns that Chinese law could force companies headquartered there — including ByteDance and WeChat parent Tencent — to hand over sensitive user information on U.S. users, or engage in disinformation or censorship.