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Biden revokes Trump's ban on TikTok and WeChat

June 10, 2021 5:29 am

The US President Joe Biden signed an executive order Wednesday revoking the Trump-era bans on TikTok and WeChat.

Details: Citing national security concerns, former President Donald Trump issued executive orders last year to prohibit new users from downloading these Chinese-owned apps and prevent US companies from trading with them. But the courts blocked those orders, which never took effect.

In place of the Trump order, the Biden administration will institute a new framework for determining the national security risks of transactions that involve apps that are connected to the governments or militaries of foreign adversaries, or collect sensitive data from US consumers. 

The new order directs the Commerce Department to work with other agencies to come up with recommendations to protect US consumer data from foreign adversaries and requires the department to recommend further executive actions and legislation to address the risks.

Context: The move represents a reset in relations between the US and the two Chinese tech firms, but the Biden administration remains cautious about the challenges China poses in the tech field. Last week, the president signed an executive order that bans US investment in certain Chinese companies in the defense and surveillance tech sectors. 

WeChat, the messaging app owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent, has about 19 million daily active users in the US, most of which are Chinese diaspora.

TikTok is a hit short video platform owned by Beijing-based ByteDance. With more than 1 billion users, it is available in more than 150 countries and has more than 200 million downloads in the US alone.