US government halts action against TikTok and WeChat
Washington DC - The new US administration is pausing the crackdown on TikTok and WeChat launched by Donald Trump. The apps will be subject to further review.
Among other things, they want to determine whether the video app and chat service actually pose a risk, according to Justice Department filings with appeals courts in Washington and San Francisco.
Trump's administration called TikTok and WeChat a risk to Americans' data and ordered bans on the apps. The move was stopped in its tracks by US courts with preliminary injunctions.
The new review could be a lengthy process: the government's requests call for updates to the court every 60 days.
TikTok is owned by Chinese conglomerate Bytedance. Trump wanted to force TikTok's US business to come under control of American owners, but the Chinese administration torpedoed talks of a sale in the fall with a new rule banning the export of software algorithms without special permission.
In addition, a judge concluded that the US government's prohibition orders were unlikely to be sufficiently covered by the law and granted a preliminary injunction. Trump's administration filed an appeal.
In the case of WeChat, US judges ruled that banning the app would violate the constitutional rights of users who rely on it.
Trump had targeted other companies such as smartphone provider Xiaomi shortly before the end of his presidency.
The new administration under President Joe Biden must decide how to deal with these measures as well.
Cover photo: 123RF/boumenjapet