Besides the two aforementioned apps, the US government had previously set its sights on the mobile photo manipulation tool FaceApp back in 2019, after it had reached virality among users in the country and across the globe. It was alleged that Russian authorities have been relying on the app, which is developed by St Petersburg-based developer Wireless Labs, to collect user data – especially those from the US.
“The administration is committed to promoting an open, interoperable, reliable, and secure internet and to protecting human rights online and offline, and to supporting a vibrant global digital economy,” a US senior administration official said during a press conference. “The challenge that we’re addressing with this [executive order] is that certain countries, including China, do not share these commitments or values and are instead working to leverage digital technologies and American data in ways that present unacceptable national security risks.”
It was previously reported that Oracle and Walmart was set to purchase ByteDance’s TikTok app and IP in order to stave off the former Trump administration’s orders. However, the deal was placed on indefinite hold after months of delays. With the app now no longer at risk of getting banned by the US government, the deal could very well be considered as irrelevant.