While the executive order by Donald Trump to ban TikTok and WeChat never came into force, the Biden administration has revoked it in favor of evidence-based investigations of foreign-controlled applications that could pose a security risk to Americans and their data.
Trump threatened to ban the apps unless a suitable US company bought a majority stake in TikTok. Oracle, Microsoft, and Walmart were all involved in negotiations to take up a stake, but nothing materialized, especially because Biden took office.
Although Trump's order has been revoked, TikTok and WeChat will still be subject to scrutiny from the US Department of Commerce who is now instructed to use a "criteria-based decision framework and rigorous, evidence-based analysis" to address the risks posed by applications that are owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary, including China.
The Biden administration has been reassessing several directives Trump issued against China and this is the latest one in the string of developments. Last week, the administration expanded the US investment ban on Chinese firms, which also includes Huawei — I wouldn't hold my breath on the Huawei ban being lifted anytime soon.
TikTok and WeChat haven't commented on the new executive order yet.