It’s official: The White House is backing off of TikTok.
Former President Donald Trump made it one of his missions while in office to ban TikTok and WeChat, two apps with ties to China, but it did not work. Trump issued an executive order attempting to stop new users from downloading the apps, and also tried to ban some transactions on them, but courts blocked all of his attempts. So nothing ever took effect.
On Wednesday, Biden’s White House cleared things up. that they are dropping those Trump-era executive orders and is instead ordering the Commerce Department to conduct its own reviews into the national security risks associated with apps that have ties to foreign countries. TikTok is owned by the Chinese company ByteDance.
In , Biden said the government will continue to “evaluate these threats through rigorous, evidence-based analysis and should address any unacceptable or undue risks consistent with overall national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives, including the preservation and demonstration of America’s core values and fundamental freedoms.” , officials are predominately worried about how China might use users’ personal data that is connected to these apps. A White House official told Reuters that a separate U.S. national security review of TikTok remains ongoing.
This is the logical next step in Biden’s handling of the app. The president never took a public position on Trump’s attempted TikTok and WeChat bans while he was campaigning, , but he did tell his staff to take the app off of their phones in July. And earlier this year, he backed off Trump’s attempt to ban TikTok by asking a court to hold off on a decision while the government reviewed broader national security threats by Chinese tech companies, the AP reported.