President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday ending former President Donald Trump’s attempts to ban TikTok and WeChat.
The new executive order revoked three Trump-era orders, including Executive Order 13942, called “Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok, and Taking Additional Steps To Address the National Emergency With Respect to the Information and Communications Technology and Services Supply Chain.”
The New York Times reported the new order is “the first significant step Mr. Biden has taken to address a challenge left for him by President Donald J. Trump, whose administration fought to ban TikTok and force its Chinese-owned parent company, ByteDance, to sell the app. Legal challenges immediately followed and the app is still available as the battle languishes in the courts.”
A White House Fact Sheet released Wednesday said Biden’s 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.
“Certain countries, including the People’s Republic of China (PRC), do not share these values and seek to leverage digital technologies and Americans’ data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks while advancing authoritarian controls and interests.”
The new order seeks to help the U.S. “take strong steps to protect Americans’ sensitive data” and “Provides criteria for identifying software applications that may pose unacceptable risk,” among other measures.
In 2020, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo led an effort to ban the popular social media app TikTok in the U.S., culminating in an Aug. 6 executive order.
During an August 2020 appearance on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Pompeo said the Trump administration was acting amid broader concerns about doing business with China.
“Well, here’s what I hope that the American people will come to recognize. These Chinese software companies doing business in the United States, whether it’s TikTok or WeChat — there are countless more — as [White House trade adviser] Peter Navarro said, are feeding data directly to the Chinese Communist Party, their national security apparatus,” Pompeo said. “Could be their facial recognition patterns. It could be information about their residence, their phone numbers, their friends, who they’re connected to.
“Those are the issues that President Trump has made clear we’re going to take care of,” Pompeo said.
According to the Brookings Institution, the catalysts for the ban were concerns about data security and privacy.
Pompeo warned, according to CNN, that users should only download TikTok “if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
In addition to security concerns, Fox News reported in April that TikTok has been used by Mexican drug cartels to recruit teens and young adults to drive smuggled illegal immigrants deep into U.S. territory.
In exchange, the cartels offered the teens as much as $3,000.
“Images obtained by Fox News shows the ads cartels are using on social media apps like TikTok, where they offer more than $3,000 a ride for teens and young adults to come drive smuggled migrants into the U.S. when they reach the border,” Fox reported.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.