Biden replaces Trump-era order banning Chinese social media apps

President Joe Biden spent his early days in office rescinding as many of his predecessor’s executive actions as possible.

More policies enacted by former President Donald Trump were revoked this week when Biden replaced orders banning TikTok, WeChat, and other Chinese-owned social media networks in the U.S., Breitbart reported.

Background on the order

Unlike prior moves some critics say were motivated primarily out of partisanship and disdain for the Trump administration, there appears to have been a legitimate purpose for Biden’s latest action — and Trump himself might even agree.

Specifically, the order that replaces Trump’s executive action addresses the national security risks posed by software applications owned or controlled by foreign adversaries like China’s communist party.

According to The Verge, Biden’s action on Wednesday revoked Trump’s prior order but did not let Chinese-owned companies off the hook. Instead, the president directed the Department of Commerce to fully investigate such apps to determine what level of risk, if any, they pose to the homeland.

Trump’s order has been tied up in court and effectively blocked from taking effect as intended.

Biden’s action not only noted that fact but also expanded on a separate Trump order from 2019 that dealt with protecting the supply chain from undue influence or sabotage by foreign adversaries.

Biden administration goals

Considering the continued threats posed by China, it might be beneficial in the long run for Biden to revoke his predecessor’s orders and replace them with a single order pursuing a similar end goal.

According to a fact sheet released by the White House, the 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.”

Citing China specifically, the White House statement argued that some nations “do not share these values and seek to leverage digital technology and Americans’ data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks while advancing authoritarian controls and interests.”

At first glance, it might appear that Biden is simply taking another step in a prolonged attack on the Trump administration.

Nevertheless, the latest order generally upheld Trump’s position, calling for a “criteria-based decision framework and rigorous, evidence-based analysis” of the potential “undue or unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and the American people” posed by firms owned or controlled by foreign adversaries.

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