President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday, June 9, reversing former President Trump’s ban on Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat, which have been accused of putting national security at risk because of their ties to the Chinese communist’s regime’s military and intelligence system.
President Biden signed an executive order reversing the ban, arguing that his administration will conduct its own review of the apps linked to the Chinese regime.
The executive order directs the U.S. Department of Commerce to “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, including the preservation and demonstration of America’s core values and fundamental freedoms.”
Last year, cybersecurity experts at the White House’s disposal warned that the Chinese regime is using TikTok to spy on Americans, prompting President Trump to take action on the matter.
Biden’s order is replacing a series of executive orders instituted by President Trump last year that blocked apps such as TikTok, WeChat and Alipay from U.S. mobile app stores until today.
Measures had also been taken to prevent them from trading on U.S. stock exchanges. Although many of the measures in the orders were stalled by court challenges that are still ongoing, but Wednesday’s new order will completely revoke all Trump-era orders in this regard.
As reported through the executive order, Biden will impose a new framework for determining the national security risks of transactions involving apps connected to the governments or militaries of foreign adversaries, such as China, and their collection of sensitive U.S. consumer data.
But many doubts arise in this regard, especially to understand is the motivating factor for the Biden administration to eliminate what has already been stipulated based on previous investigations, as well as whether it was necessary to remove the restrictions while a new investigation was being started. It is impossible not to suspect that there is some interest or motivation to understand the controversial action.
Trump’s executive actions targeting Byte Dance, a Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, and WeChat, which in turn is owned by Tencent Holdings, were heavily resisted by the Chinese regime and its allies within the U.S., who managed to block several measures using various federal court orders. Trump had also tried to force the sale of TikTok.
TikTok found relief through the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to review Trump’s divestiture order and the federal government’s order to conduct a national security review, causing the divestiture process to be put on hold.