US government revokes order banning TikTok and WeChat
Last summer, then-President of the United States Donald Trump signed an executive order seeking to bar apps such as TikTok and WeChat from most types of transactions with US investors. Today, the US government revoked that order, The New York Times reports.
The order claimed that these apps posed a threat to users and could give their information to the Chinese Communist Party. If carried out, the executive order would have resulted in these apps being banned from app stores. In fact, the Department of Commerce said it would be banning the apps soon, citing similar security reasons. The plan was for WeChat to be banned on September 20, while TikTok had until November 12 to resolve its security concerns.
In response, ByteDance, TikTok’s parent company, tried to sell off TikTok’s US operations. By selling its operations to an American company and handing over control of user data, it hoped to address the security concerns. Many companies were seemingly in the running to buy the app, with Oracle coming out as the top contender. However, nothing ever materialized. Despite the original deadline, the Department eventually gave up on pursuing the ban.
Now, the executive order that would have banned TikTok has been revoked. However, there’s a new directive seeking a broader review of apps controlled by foreign states. Administration officials said that the directive will try to establish “clear intelligible criteria” for determining national security risks. For now, it seems that TikTok is in the clear, which is good news for its users and for ByteDance.
However, there could still be trouble in the future. There’s still an ongoing investigation into TikTok at the Committee of Foreign Investment, which is separate from the order. The administration also refused to comment on the future availability of TikTok and other apps.