Biden revokes Trump-era executive orders that sought to ban AliPay, TikTok, WeChat

A new Biden directive has set aside mandates that had sought to ban AliPay, TikTok, and WeChat, as well as other Chinese apps.
Written by Campbell Kwan, Contributor
Image: Getty Images

US President Joe Biden has revoked and replaced various executive orders made by former President Donald Trump that had sought to block apps like AliPay, TikTok, and WeChat from US app stores.

When Trump made those orders, he had labelled the Chinese apps as national security threats with respect to  information and communications technology, and services supply chain.

With the latest directive, AliPay, CamScanner, TikTok, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office are no longer set to be banned.

The Trump administration ordered for TikTok to be banned unless it was divested to a US company. After months of negotiations following the Trump order, TikTok had come to a preliminary deal to be sold to Oracle and Walmart. That deal was then shelved indefinitely, however, after Biden came into office, according to The Wall Street Journal.

While TikTok is no longer set to be banned, the executive order does not address the potential sale of the app, which is currently being reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.

In addition to being a replacement of Trump's executive orders, the new directive also sets new criteria that the Commerce Department must use to review whether apps tied to foreign adversaries pose an "unacceptable risk," according to a White House fact sheet.

The criteria for determining if an app poses an "unacceptable risk" is if it is owned, controlled, or managed by persons that support foreign adversary military or intelligence activities, or are involved in malicious cyber activities, or involve applications that collect sensitive personal data, the fact sheet said.

The executive order also directs the Commerce Department to work with other agencies to come up with recommendations to protect US consumer data from foreign adversaries, as well as make recommendations for additional executive and legislative actions to further address the risk associated with foreign adversary connected software applications.

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