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Joe Biden officially reverses the TikTok ban ordered by Donald Trump

The Biden administration still hasn’t ruled out national security concerns surrounding apps linked to China, however

Donald Trump’s proposed TikTok ban was originally meant to forbid new downloads of the app starting on November 12, 2020, but those plans were seemingly forgotten in the wake of Joe Biden’s election win earlier that month. Now, Biden has officially revoked the order, following a temporary suspension that allowed government officials to familiarise themselves with the case.

Biden’s move to revoke Trump’s executive order walks back the former president’s efforts to ban eight communications and technology apps linked to China, including TikTok and WeChat, due to alleged national security concerns. It presumably didn’t help that TikTok teens made a habit of trolling Trump throughout his presidency, either.

However, the Biden administration still hasn’t ruled out the security concerns about mobile apps hailing from China. Alongside the reversal of the ban, it announced a new order aimed at protecting US citizens’ personal data, and developing criteria for assessing potential security risks associated with apps “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 Biden Administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable and secure Internet, protecting human rights online and offline, and supporting a vibrant, global digital economy,” reads a memo describing the order (via CNN). 

The memo goes on to call out China specifically, reading: “Certain countries, including the PRC, that do not share these democratic values seek to leverage digital technologies and Americans’ data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks while advancing authoritarian controls and interests.”

Ongoing negotiations between TikTok and a US national security panel, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, also seek to find ways that the app can keep its US users’ data secure. These negotiations reportedly aren’t affected by Biden’s latest order, and will continue as normal.