Biden cancels Trump’s U.S. TikTok ban, but the story isn’t over

Story by CBC Kids News • 2021-06-15 06:00

Canadian privacy experts say TikTok no worse than other social apps


Looks like TikTok won’t be banned in the U.S. after all — at least not right now.

On June 10, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that his government was dropping an executive order introduced by former president Donald Trump late last year that would’ve had apps like TikTok and WeChat banned in the United States.

An executive order is a signed document from the U.S. president that allows them to put a government policy in place without needing to first get approval from the elected officials in Congress.

The news doesn’t seem to be creating much of a buzz on TikTok, but it has prompted some experts to weigh in on whether TikTok is safe to use.

Trump’s executive order

The previous executive order was announced in September 2020 by Trump, who claimed that the Chinese government was using TikTok to collect data and private information from Americans.

Former U.S. president Donald Trump tried to ban TikTok in 2020, claiming the app posed a threat to national security. (Image credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

TikTok is owned by a company called ByteDance, which is based in China.

TikTok denied the accusations, and Trump’s order didn’t hold up legally in court.

Biden’s new order

Although the Biden government has blocked the order, it’s still choosing to address ongoing safety concerns with TikTok through a new executive order.

On June 10, China’s Ministry of Commerce said that Biden’s new order was a 'positive step' in the right direction. (Image credit: Tom Brenner/Getty Images)

The new order directs the U.S. Commerce Department to investigate apps created, supplied or controlled by China.

Depending on what they find, this means that TikTok could still be banned in the future.

However, Biden’s team said the new investigation will take a more tailored, evidence-based approach, rather than Trump’s order, which they said was too broad in scope.

Last year, many TikTokers in the U.S. were upset when they thought they might have to make the jump to a new platform. (Image credit: @laithalishious/Twitter)

“The new executive order should lead to a framework for protecting Americans’ data from China, rather than targeting specific companies,” said tech policy expert Paul Triolo.

CBC Kids News reached out to TikTok to see how it’s responding to the new executive order, but has not yet received a reply.

For now, is TikTok safe to use?

The current U.S. government has not yet weighed in on whether it thinks TikTok is safe for Americans to use.

According to social media marketing agency Wallaroo Media, TikTok has more than one billion users worldwide and has been downloaded more than 200 million times in the United States alone. (Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

A cybersecurity and privacy analysis published in March by Citizen Lab found no evidence of malicious behaviour by TikTok.

The internet watchdog group, which is based at the University of Toronto, said that TikTok’s practices of collecting personal data and tracking users’ behavior were no worse than other major social media platforms.

Last year, CBC Kids News reached out to the Canadian government to ask whether it is investigating the alleged safety concerns surrounding TikTok.

At the time, a spokesperson for Public Safety Minister Bill Blair only said that the government is working to ensure that “our systems are secure.”

CBC Kids News has reached out for an update but has yet to hear back.

With files from The Associated Press
TOP IMAGE CREDIT: Olivier Douliery/Getty Images

Get your class on the same page, add this to
Google Classroom

Was this story worth reading?