Biden Reverses Trump’s Effort to Ban TikTok, Orders Broader Review of Foreign-Owned Apps

By Brad Pareso 

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday revoking a Trump-era order aimed at banning TikTok, the popular video app, as well as WeChat and eight other communications and financial technology software applications. (NBC News)

The new order doesn’t target any companies specifically, but creates the potential for an even broader crackdown on Chinese-owned apps than the Trump administration orders it replaces by mandating a review of all software applications with potential ties to countries such as China. (WSJ)

The order also directs the Commerce Department to work with other agencies to come up with recommendations to protect U.S. consumer data from foreign adversaries and requires the department to recommend further executive actions and legislation to address the risks. (CNBC)

It is the first significant step Biden has taken to approach the saga between TikTok and the Trump administration, which tried to ban the app over national security concerns but was immediately challenged in federal court. Analysts said the new executive order is meant to create a process that could withstand such a challenge. (NYT)

In the past year, policymakers across Washington have raised concerns that app makers with ties to China could be forced by Beijing to hand over their customers’ personal information. Some U.S. lawmakers have suggested that China could seek to exercise influence over popular apps like TikTok to spread disinformation or engage in censorship. (CNN)