WASHINGTON, D. C., AP – The Biden administration is backing off former president Donald Trump’s attempts to ban the video app TikTok, asking a judge to postpone a legal dispute over the proposed ban as the government begins a broader review of the national security threats posed by Chinese technology companies.
A court filing says the US Commerce Department is reviewing whether Trump’s claims about TikTok’s threat to national security justified the attempts to ban it from smartphone app stores and deny it vital technical services.
Separately, the Biden administration has “indefinitely” shelved a proposed US takeover of TikTok, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Last year, the Trump administration brokered a deal that would have had US corporations Oracle and Walmart take a large stake in the Chinese-owned app on national security grounds.
The arrangement stemmed from a Trump executive order that aimed to ban TikTok in the US unless it accepted a greater degree of American control.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki did not deny the Journal report but said on Wednesday the administration had not taken a “new proactive step” in the process.
Psaki said the Biden administration was comprehensively evaluating risks to US data, including those involving TikTok.
Trump targeted TikTok last year with a series of executive orders that cited concerns over the US data that TikTok collects from its users.
But courts temporarily blocked the White House’s attempted ban and the presidential election soon overshadowed the TikTok fight.
While President Joe Biden has said TikTok is a concern, his administration has not said whether it will continue to try to ban TikTok or force a sale.
Biden has taken a cautious approach to inheriting Trump’s China policies and has not promised to scale back or cancel tariffs and other combative measures.