A day after it suspended a proposed TikTok ban, the Biden administration is distancing itself from the attempts of former president (Donald Trump) to ban China-owned messaging app WeChat.
The Biden administration has asked two federal appeals courts to stop litigation over attempts by former president (Donald Trump) to ban TikTok and WeChat from the United States.
The US government said: The Biden administration is seeking a pause while conducting a review of the Trump administration’s approach to social media companies linked to China.
The Commerce Department is reviewing recent measures to ensure that efforts by the Trump administration to ban them based on alleged national security threats are justified, according to the government filing Thursday in a lawsuit from WeChat users challenging the ban.
The government filing says: Given that the Biden administration assumed its duties, the Ministry of Commerce began reviewing some of the newly issued agency procedures, including the ban imposed by the minister regarding the application in dispute in this appeal, and with regard to those prohibitions, the ministry plans to conduct an assessment of the basic record that justifies these prohibitions .
He added: The government will then be in a better position to determine whether the national security threat described in the President’s Executive Order of August 6, 2020, and the regulatory purpose to protect Americans’ security and data, still justify the specific ban.
Courts have blocked Trump’s attempt to ban WeChat from taking effect, saying it affects users’ First Amendment rights.
WeChat is a messaging app with other features, such as: the social media and payments prevalent in China, where many US social media and messaging apps are blocked.
It is also popular with many Chinese speakers in the United States, with millions of users, because it allows them to communicate with friends, family and business contacts in China, and it is owned by the Chinese technology giant Tencent.
The app is subject to censorship inside China and is expected to adhere to content restrictions set by the authorities, and the Toronto-based Internet monitoring group Citizen Lab said: WeChat monitors files and photos shared abroad to help with censorship in China.
The Trump administration targeted WeChat and TikTok for their Chinese ownership, saying that US user data could be shared with the Chinese government.
TikTok has denied it or will do so, and Tencent said: It includes the highest standards of user privacy and data security.
The ban attempts were part of the administration’s escalation of tensions with China, which included a trade war, disrupting mergers involving Chinese companies and stifling the business of Huawei, the manufacturer of phones and communications equipment.