Trump Bans WeChat— But It Will Continue To Be Scrutinized, Review ordered by the company.

Trump Bans WeChat— But It Will Continue To Be Scrutinized, Review ordered by the company.

The 9th of June (Reuters) – On Wednesday, President Joe Biden rescinded a series of Trump-era executive orders that tried to block new downloads of WeChat and TikTok and directed the Commerce Department to investigate security concerns raised by these and other applications.

Ex-President Donald Trump’s government sought to prevent new users from installing the applications and bar other technical transactions, which Chinese-owned short video-sharing apps, TikTok and WeChat, both warned would essentially block the usage of the apps in the United States.

U.S. national security officials are still investigating TikTok, a White House official said, though he refused to give any further information on the investigation. TikTok users’ privacy is a worry for the White House, another senior official said.

The Biden order orders the Commerce Department to examine software applications like TikTok that potentially harm the national security of the United States and to offer recommendations within 120 days to secure U.S. data gathered or accessible by corporations owned by foreign enemies.

WeChat Users Rally to Block Trump's Attempt to Ban App

“We are making progress,” said Gao Feng, the spokeswoman for China’s trade ministry during a Thursday press briefing.

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Gao noted that China has seen that the United States demands a fresh security examination of the applications and expects that “the U.S. would treat Chinese enterprises fairly and avoid politicizing economic and trade problems.”

At least 19 million U.S. consumers have downloaded WeChat, a popular platform for services, games, and payments.

WeChat Users Alliance attorney Michael Bien hailed the Biden administration for rescinding Trump’s order, which the group had filed to stop “a misguided restriction on WeChat…

take down a key communications network relying on by millions of Americans in an unprecedented manner..”

Biden’s new executive order revokes Trump’s August and January directives targeting WeChat and TikTok, as well as eight other communications and financial technology software services.

This graphic depicts President Donald Trump’s photograph on a smartphone, with the app’s Tik Tok and WeChat logos prominently visible.

The Trump administration issued an order in January directing officials to block transactions with eight Chinese applications, including Ant Group’s (688688. SS) Alipay and Tencent Holdings Ltd’s (0700. HK) QQ Wallet and WeChat pay; no bans have been imposed to yet.

The Trump administration said that WeChat and TikTok constituted a national security risk because the Chinese government may acquire sensitive personal data from US users.

Both TikTok, which has over 100 million members in the US, and WeChat have denied presenting any national security risks.


In February, Reuters reported that corporate sponsors rushed back to TikTok after several had suspended or delayed efforts after Trump’s August declaration. Chevrolet, the main brand of General Motors (GM.N), began advertising on TikTok in February with its own channel.

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The Trump administration had challenged a judge ruling restraining the restrictions on TikTok and WeChat, but when Biden entered office in January, the US Justice Department requested to halt the appeals.

A representative for the Department of Justice declined to comment. On Friday, the status reports in the appeals cases are due. As stated in Biden’s directive, the collection of personal data from Americans “threatens to give foreign enemies with access to such information.”

The directive instructs the Commerce Department to “review on a continual basis” any transactions that “pose an unacceptable risk of catastrophic repercussions on the security or resiliency of the key infrastructure or digital economy of the United States.”

Biden’s executive order mandates that U.S. intelligence and Homeland Security agencies give the Commerce Department with vulnerability and threat assessments of U.S. data held by foreign enemies within 60 days of signing the order.

Trump’s decision to scrap Trump’s executive orders demonstrates “alarming complacency about #China’s access to American personal information, as well as #China’s rising corporate power,” Republican Senator Josh Hawley tweeted.

Trump widens bans on WeChat and TikTok

Last Monday, Vice President Biden issued an executive order prohibiting U.S. involvement in some Chinese enterprises involved in the defense and surveillance industries. Replacement for Trump-era rule that couldn’t withstand a court review.

If an agreement can be worked out to protect American citizens’ personal information from Chinese authorities, Byte Dance is still participating.

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Tik Tok has always asserted that it had a firewall between itself and its Chinese parent company. Executives at TikTok claim that no data about American users is stored on Chinese servers and that access to this data requires the authorization of TikTok’s US-based security staff.

In accordance with TikTok’s terms of service, ByteDance is allowed to access user data. TikTok, on the other hand, claims that the Chinese government has never inquired for information on its American users.

TikTok’s attorneys claim that Beijing’s request would be dismissed if it were ever made. Even Facebook and Google-owned applications such as TikTok gather similar amounts of data from their app users’ mobile phone data.