US President Joe Biden on Wednesday revoked and replaced executive orders targeting TikTok, WeChat and eight other software applications signed by former President Donald Trump.
“President Biden revoked and replaced three E.O.s (executive orders) that aimed to prohibit transactions with TikTok, WeChat, and eight other communications and financial technology software applications; two of these E.O.s are subject to litigation,” the White House said in a fact sheet.
The new order signed by Biden on Wednesday directed the US Commerce Department to instead evaluate software applications connected with “foreign adversaries” under recent US supply-chain security rules “and take action, as appropriate,” according to the White House.
The order also directed the Commerce Department to develop further options to protect sensitive personal data and address the “potential threat” from certain connected software applications.
Citing national security concerns, Trump had sought to block new users from downloading TikTok and WeChat in the United States, but his orders were blocked in US federal district courts and never took effect.
The proposed ban on the apps had caused widespread concern and opposition in the United States. For some Americans, Facebook, TikTok and WeChat are fun and convenient ways to connect with their friends online.
US experts have also warned that security concerns around data and privacy cannot be solved with bans on apps. On the contrary, US bans on foreign apps could provide cover to other countries to spin up their own national security justification to ban apps from US companies.