Biden tosses out Trump-era executive order that aimed to ban TikTok – but it's not off the hook

Washington, D.C. – President Biden has revoked an executive order made by former president Donald Trump that sought to ban TikTok and WeChat over foreign security concerns – but the apps aren't getting a free-pass just yet.

The White House announced on Wednesday that President Biden has repealed and replaced executive orders regarding TikTok and other foreign apps.
The White House announced on Wednesday that President Biden has repealed and replaced executive orders regarding TikTok and other foreign apps.  © Collage: 123RF/prykhodov & 123RF/Jan Hanus

On Wednesday morning, The White House announced that President Biden had repealed and replaced three executive orders that aimed to limit or ban the use of TikTok, WeChat, and several other China-based communication applications.

These orders were put into place during the Trump administration to further assess the threat each app posed to both national and personal security.

While the concern regarding what data TikTok, WeChat, and other tech applications can pull from its users is valid, the Biden administration felt that the since-revoked orders lacked a set process for evaluation.

Instead, President Biden has replaced it with an executive order that, "directs the Department of Commerce to instead evaluate foreign adversary connected software applications under the rules published to implement E.O. 13873 and take action, as appropriate", according to a press release from The White House.

Out with the old, in with the new

Former president Donald J. Trump (l.) had brokered a deal that would give the US some control over TikTok, but the Biden administration disagreed with its language.
Former president Donald J. Trump (l.) had brokered a deal that would give the US some control over TikTok, but the Biden administration disagreed with its language.  © Collage: IMAGO / UPI Photo & IMAGO / MediaPunch

The new order lays out an "evidence-based" analysis for the Department of Commerce to use when assessing transactions within applications that are manufactured or controlled by China.

The main concern lies within applications that collect users' data, like TikTok.

In 2020, the Trump administration had brokered a deal that would have seen two US corporations, Walmart and Oracle, take control over a large stake of TikTok in order to embed some American control over the Chinese application.

But President Biden and his team found that the lack of concrete steps and plans involved in the former president's deal and executive order led to its repeal.

The press release also stated that the Department of Commerce has been given the power to "make recommendations for additional executive and legislative actions to further address the risk associated with foreign adversary connected software applications."

All involved departments have 120 days to rescind any rules outlined by the repealed executive orders and to create the reports needed to start assessing transactions and implementing new practices.

Cover photo: Collage: 123RF/prykhodov & 123RF/Jan Hanus

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