Biden administration officially reverses Trump's TikTok and WeChat bans

Tiktok Microsoft Logo Hero
Tiktok Microsoft Logo Hero (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • President Biden has issued an executive order canceling a previous one that had restricted TikTok and WeChat.
  • Both apps had been banned last year under nebulous national security concerns.
  • The government is instead directing a focus on an "evidence-based analysis" of app and services linked to China in the future.

President Biden has reversed former President Trump's TikTok and WeChat bans in an executive order unveiled today. The new president will instead focus on more specific tasks aimed at protecting American data from China as a whole, rather than taking aim at select companies.

In the executive order, the administration says individual threats should be looked at through a "rigorous, evidence-based analysis" and threats tackled in ways "consistent with overall national security, foreign policy, and economic objectives, including the preservation and demonstration of America's core values and fundamental freedoms."

The U.S. and TikTok drama started last year with allegations that the Bytedance-owned company was sending user data back to China and exposing users to blackmail from foreign governments. While there had never been quite any concrete proof of this, the Trump administration went ahead and banned TikTok and later WeChat. Both bans would never take effect as U.S. courts took stepped to halt their enforcement.

Back in February, the Biden administration signaled it had little interest in continuing down this road, and this new order is a very concrete expression of that desire. Other solutions in the past had included selling TikTok to a U.S.-based company like Oracle or Microsoft. TikTok was actually sold to Oracle in the end, but the process was never really completed. Progress slowed in February for the aforementioned reasons, and with the ban now averted, it's hard to imagine such a sale moving forward.

Not all Chinese companies are getting a reprieve, though. Sure, Xiaomi may have gotten away from being placed on an investor blacklist, but Huawei hasn't been as lucky. Unfortunately for the tech giant, the Biden administration has not deviated from the previous administration's antagonistic stance.

Michael Allison
  • I was wondering how long would Beijing Biden take before he started doing what his paymasters tell him to. I guess the dementia made him take longer than it was meant to. Up next: watch him get rid of the Huawei-ban.
  • I don't think he'll reverse the Huawei ban. That one is pretty obvious that company needs to be banned and blacklisted for life! Huawei is definitely supported by the government and military. Surprisingly he added more Chinese companies to the blacklist. Good video bekoe for the haters to watch and wake up. Can America rein in China? | Conversation between Simone Gao and Miles Yu | Part#1 Zooming in China
  • I take it you preferred the last guy who was paid in Rubles? They should lift the Huawei ban, it's idiotic.
  • Huawei needs to uncouple its smartphone division from its network equipment division. I just solved a trade crisis all on my own while kind of sort of really high.
  • @Fuzzylumpkin for once I agree with you.
  • Where have you been? You're ridiculousness makes this a better experience.
  • Finally. Our long national nightmare is over.
  • The word "bans" should be in quotes. It was just totally impotent posturing.
  • Tiktok was never banned. It was considered because of the real risk of espionage from China. It's why the DoD discourages the use of the app by service members.
  • @DJCBS, Biden is reversing a ridiculous ban that wasn't justified in TikTok and hopefully he'll reverse the Huawei ban as well, Trump just doesn't like Chinese companies felt threatened by Huawei and I'm no fan of Huawei and hate the UI on their Android phones as I'm more of a Pixel and stock Android guy, and I know how you feel about Pixels as you've made clear, I've realized after using my S20 FE for nearly 4 months, I prefer the Pixel software experience and it's exclusive features and will return to a Pixel this fall and won't buy another Samsung phone again. Anyway back to the topic. Why is it you were in favour of the TikTok ban when it wasn't justified?
  • Oh joy! Americans can now stop worrying that they will no longer be able to share themselves farting into their mobile phones with the world. I wonder if the CCP looks at that stuff and thinks "this is going to be easy!"
  • Yet platform certain apps because they might have a conservative view point. Give me a break.
  • A conservative view is fine as long as it isn't offensive to anyone and is respectful.