President Biden on Wednesday revoked executive orders targeting the Chinese-owned TikTok and WeChat apps signed by former President Donald Trump. He signed a new order requiring security reviews of these and other apps in the jurisdiction of foreign adversaries. The new order directs the Commerce Department to evaluate software applications connected with foreign adversaries under recent U.S. supply-chain security rules.
The order also provides criteria for identifying and evaluating apps that may pose an unacceptable risk to U.S. national security and Americans’ data security. The Commerce Department will be required to review apps “involving software applications that are designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons that are owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary, including the People’s Republic of China, that may present an undue or unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and the American people,” according to the White House fact sheet.
The Trump administration’s executive orders targeting the TikTok app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd. and the WeChat app owned by Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings Ltd. had been blocked by federal court injunctions. Mr. Trump sought to force a sale of the company to U.S. owners in the case of TikTok. The Biden administration said in February it was developing a comprehensive approach to protecting data security, and was reviewing the previous administration’s action to determine whether the national security threat cited by Mr. Trump continued to warrant an outright ban. Administration officials said that TikTok continues to undergo a separate review by a government panel that reviews cross-border transactions. The action is the latest sign of the Biden administration’s emerging China policy, which represents a tougher approach acknowledging Beijing’s economic and geopolitical strength.