Arbitrary TikTok and WeChat Bans Were Bad Policy and Process; Going Forward, Government Should Act On Evidence and Risk

June 9, 2021

WASHINGTON—Following today’s Executive Order on Protecting Americans’ Sensitive Data from Foreign Adversaries rescinding Trump’s executive orders banning TikTok and WeChat, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from ITIF Vice President Daniel Castro:

Rescinding these arbitrary bans is the right move in terms of both policy and process. The TikTok ban would have put more than 1,000 U.S. jobs directly at risk and hurt the even larger number of content creators who have built followings on the video-sharing platform. Likewise, cutting off access to WeChat would have had an impact on millions of U.S. users.

Today’s executive order creates a more nuanced approach to evaluating digital threats from foreign actors, based on a rigorous, evidence-based process. Going forward, federal agencies should make their reports and assessments on various foreign actors available to the public, so that the private sector will be aware of threats from malicious foreign interference.