President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed an executive order that rescinded executive orders by former President Donald Trump intended to ban TikTok, WeChat and other Chinese-owned apps.
“President Biden revoked and replaced three E.O.s that aimed to prohibit transactions with TikTok, WeChat, and eight other communications and financial technology software applications,” a White House Fact Sheet said.
The Fact Sheet added Biden’s new order “directs the use of a criteria-based decision framework and rigorous, evidence-based analysis to address the risks posed by ICTS transactions involving software applications that are designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons that are owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary, including the People’s Republic of China, that may present an undue or unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and the American people.”
The popular video-sharing app TikTok came under scrutiny when Trump sought to ban it from American app stores. The company is owned by Chinese-owned ByteDance, allowing a Chinese company access to wide-scale American personal data.
The Washington Examiner said, “A federal court injunction had blocked Trump’s order meant to ban TikTok and another Chinese social media app called WeChat.”
Though loved by many young Americans, TikTok’s Chinese ownership opens many security risks. Unlike American owned social media providers, the U.S. holds no jurisdiction over how user data is used.
China has been known to use photo identification in its own country to track dissidents, a practice spoken against widely by democratic nations.
Biden’s rollback of a Trump Chinese ban is not surprising given the president’s views on China. However, the order may have unintended consequences as voters consider decisions ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.