Biden drops Trump attempt to ban TikTok, WeChat

U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday withdrew a series of Trump-era executive orders that sought to ban new downloads of TikTok and WeChat - and ordered a new review of security concerns posed by those apps and others.

Last summer, former President Donald Trump had attempted to block new users from downloading the apps, and ban other technical transactions, that Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat both said would effectively block the apps' use in the United States.

The courts halted Trump’s orders, which never took effect.

Trump had claimed that TikTok - which has over 100 million users in the United States - and WeChat posed national security concerns, arguing that users’ personal data could be collected by the Chinese government.

TikTok and WeChat have denied the allegation.

Biden's executive order directs the Commerce Department to make recommendations, within 120 days, to protect U.S. data acquired or accessible by companies controlled by foreign adversaries.

Biden's new order also directs Commerce to "evaluate on a continuing basis" any transactions that (quote) “pose an undue risk of catastrophic effects on the security or resiliency of the critical infrastructure or digital economy of the United States."

A White House official said a separate U.S. national security review of TikTok launched in late 2019 remains ongoing.

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