Rather, Biden's Commerce Department will conduct its own review of the apps to decide whether they are believable foreign threats "and take action, as appropriate,” according to a White House fact sheet.
The Commerce Department will be asked to evaluate smartphone apps “involving software applications that are designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons that are owned or controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction of a foreign adversary, including the People’s Republic of China, that may present an undue or unacceptable risk to the national security of the United States and the American people,” according to the fact sheet.
Biden's new order gives guidelines for recognizing apps that could pose a vital risk to national security and consumer information privacy, such as apps that are controlled by people who support a foreign adversary military or are involved in the collection of sensitive personal information.
TikTok came into the spotlight when Trump attempted to ban the app, which is owned by Chinese company ByteDance, and pushed the parent company to sell the app, which it is trying to do.
The U.S. government sees ByteDance as a data privacy and national security risk because of the Chinese government's access to all data obtained by technology companies in China.
A federal court injunction had blocked Trump's order meant to ban TikTok and another Chinese social media app named WeChat.
Under the previous administration, TikTok remained in a precarious position as Trump sought to ban the app unless it was sold to an American company. The standoff prompted Walmart and Microsoft to team up and court TikTok, though the company ultimately went with Oracle as its “trusted technology provider,” which fell far short of a full sale.
Though, a Senate bill led by GOP Sen. Josh Hawley from Missouri to ban TikTok from government devices has got traction in Congress.
It was included in Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, a legislative package designed to help the U.S. out-compete China, that passed the Senate on Tuesday.
Last week, Biden maintained and expanded a Trump-era ban on the U.S. investing in Chinese companies suspected to have connections to the Chinese military. Many of these blacklisted entities are subsidiaries or are connected to Chinese state-owned firms.
Biden is further on his first overseas trip as president this week, meeting European and NATO commanders, in part to find common ground with others interested in holding China more accountable.