Judge Temporarily Blocks WeChat Ban

A federal judge has temporarily blocked the U.S. ban of the WeChat app.

What We Know:

  • President Trump previously banned WeChat downloads in the U.S. with an executive order. In a preliminary injunction, Judge Laurel Beeler ruled in favor of the plaintiffs – a group of American WeChat users. Judge Beeler wrote that the plaintiffs raised “serious questions” that the WeChat ban threatens their First Amendment rights.
  • “The plaintiffs’ evidence reflects that WeChat is effectively the only means of communication for many in the community, not only because China bans other apps, but also because Chinese speakers with limited English proficiency have no options other than WeChat,” Beeler wrote. Judge Beeler also wrote that the executive order does not provide sufficient evidence that it is purely about national security concerns regarding China and that there are alternatives to an outright ban.
  • Australia has also taken action with WeChat by banning it from government devices.
  • The Commerce Department has placed restrictions on the TikTok and WeChat apps. The implementation of the TikTok restrictions has been delayed because President Trump recently announced that TikTok had reached an approved deal with Oracle and Walmart to operate in the U.S. The judge’s ruling not only blocks the WeChat ban, but it also blocks government efforts to restrict other companies from hosting WeChat’s internet traffic.
  • The lawsuit challenging the executive order was filed by the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance. The group is a nonprofit representing the interests of U.S. WeChat users. WeChat is used by 1.2 billion people around the world and by approximately 19 million people in the U.S. The group’s lawyers pointed out the president’s overwhelming anti-China sentiments, such as his numerous “China virus” and “Kung-Flu” quotes.

This action quite literally happened at the last minute. WeChat was set to cease operating in the U.S. at midnight on Sunday. The WeChat ban is now blocked thanks to the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance lawsuit and Judge Beeler’s ruling.