The United States continues to tighten on TikTok and will no longer be too particular about them all. On the 9th, US President Joe Biden withdrew the order banning the use of TikTok and the Chinese communication app “WeChat” issued by former President Donald Trump. In the future, the US government will judge security threats based on more objective criteria, such as whether or not it is owned by a hostile foreign force, rather than targeting such a specific company.
Mr. Trump embodied his anti-Chinese stance by hitting individual companies. Last August, it banned new downloads of TikTok and WeChat from the app store. It also urged TikTok’s Chinese parent company, Beijing ByteDance, to sell TikTok US business. Despite the story of Oracle and Wal-Mart investing in the project, Mr. Trump has changed his attitude from initial praise to criticism, and the turmoil has spread with no conclusions have been reached.
As a result, several US courts have ruled to suspend Mr. Trump’s orders, making the ban on TikTok and WeChat ineffective. The judges said the order violated the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and was an over-exercise of power under the president’s emergency measures.
On the other hand, Mr. Biden’s new order avoids naming any specific company. The Commerce Department was instructed to validate apps that pose a national security risk. It may be owned or operated by the Chinese government or a regime that is considered unfriendly to the United States or may collect important personal information about the American people. Once these facts are known, the Commerce Department can move to ban or limit the use of such apps.
The fairness of the procedure will be enhanced if the regulations are operated in the light of general standards and behaviors without targeting individual companies. For example, the main users of WeChat are Chinese in the United States, but the same goes for the mini-blog Weibo, which was not banned by Mr. Trump. If the circumstances treat these differently, at least the reason will be clearer, and the legal basis will be solid.
When it comes to the situation surrounding TikTok, the Biden administration is taking time. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) is still reviewing plans for Oracle and Wal-Mart to take a 20% stake in TikTok US operations. As ByteDance continues to hold a majority stake in the deal, Mr. Trump’s concerns over control by China appear to be irreversible. After all, TikTok and WeChat may still call for US security vigilance. Mr. Biden is not trying to retreat from the US government’s anti-China stance but is just trying to use another method. Still, at least, it’s narrowing the room for personal feelings to get into this issue.
On the 9th, US President Joe Biden withdrew the order of former President Donald Trump to ban the use of the Chinese video posting app “TikTok” and the communication app “WeChat.” In August last year, Mr. Trump issued the order banning new downloads from app stores controlled by Apple and Alphabet subsidiary Google. At the same time, Mr. Biden instructed the Department of Commerce to verify that the owners or owners of app operators pose unacceptable security risks, such as supporting foreign hostilities and espionage against the United States. Once that fact is known, the Department of Commerce can take measures such as banning or restricting the use of the app.