US President Joe Biden will withdraw a series of decrees purporting to ban new WeChat and TikTok downloads and order a new Commerce Department review of security concerns posed by such apps, the White House said on Wednesday.
The government of former President Donald Trump had tried to block the download of the applications by new users and to prohibit other technical operations that, according to TikTok and WeChat, owned by China, would effectively block the use of the applications in the United States.
The courts blocked those orders, so they never went into effect.
Biden’s new decree repeals the decrees on WeChat and TikTok, along with another from January that targeted eight other fintech and communications applications.
Biden’s new order sets out what it should consider an “unacceptable risk,” according to a White House fact sheet. That includes criteria for evaluating transactions with software applications tied to a foreign adversary, which is generally under the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), CNBC reported.
The new decree would consider that the transactions involve a “higher risk” when they involve applications that are owned, controlled or administered by people who support the military or intelligence of foreign adversaries or when the applications collect confidential personal data, for example.
A White House representative said a national security review of TikTok is ongoing.