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Thursday, Oct 21, 2021

Joe Biden revokes Donald Trump's bid to ban Americans from downloading TikTok

Joe Biden revokes Donald Trump's bid to ban Americans from downloading TikTok

Joe Biden's new executive order comes after the Trump administration attempted to ban TikTok last year.
President Joe Biden has reversed his predecessor Donald Trump's plans to ban the popular video app TikTok in the US.

In a new executive order, Mr Biden revoked the Trump administration's attempt to ban the Chinese-owned app, and has instead ordered a new Commerce Department review into security concerns around data sharing and privacy.

The Trump administration tried to ban new downloads of TikTok in August last year and attempted to bar US companies from doing business with ByteDance, the app's parent company in Beijing.

Mr Trump also backed a takeover of ByteDance by American company Microsoft.

TikTok is estimated to have more than 100 million users in the US and is especially popular with teenagers, some of whom claimed responsibility for the lack of supporters at a Trump campaign rally last year.

At the time, Mr Trump's order read: "The spread in the United States of mobile applications developed and owned by companies in the People's Republic of China (China) continues to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States."

The courts found Mr Trump had overstepped his authority in his executive order, blocking it from taking effect.

Mr Biden's new executive order revokes the TikTok orders, which also applied to messaging app WeChat, along with another order in January that targeted eight other communications and financial technology software applications.

But the Democrat - who is UK-bound for this week's meeting of G7 leaders - remains wary about the security concerns surrounding TikTok and other Chinese-owned apps.

Mr Biden's new executive order states: "By operating on United States information and communications technology devices, including personal electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, connected software applications can access and capture vast swaths of information from users, including United States persons' personal information and proprietary business information.

"This data collection threatens to provide foreign adversaries with access to that information. Foreign adversary access to large repositories of United States persons' data also presents a significant risk."

Both TikTok and WeChat have denied the allegation that they pose national security concerns.

The Biden administration says a separate US national security review of TikTok, which was launched in late 2019, is ongoing.
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