U.S. Judge Restrains to Remove WeChat from App Stores

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U.S. Judge Restrains to Remove WeChat from App Stores
Image by Sinchen.Lin on Flickr

On Sunday the U.S. Judge halted the Trump administration from removing the Chinese-owned messaging app WeChat from downloading that was scheduled to happen late Sunday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said that WeChat users had filed a lawsuit “have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs’ favor.”

In the 22-page order, she has also mentioned without providing a substitute channel for communication – “burden substantially more speech than is necessary to serve the government’s significant interest.”

On September 18, the Commerce Department ordered to block the WeChat app, owned by China’s Tencent on the grounds of national security and the Justice Department had requested Beeler not to hold the order.

Beeler’s preliminary directive also charged the Commerce Department order that would have prevented other activities with WeChat in the U.S. that could have dramatically diminished the site’s usability for current U.S. users or potentially made it unusable. 

19 million people are using WeChat on a daily basis in the U.S. as well as American’s staying in China, according to Apptopia’s analytic report in August. It is said to be popular among Chinese students as well as people living in China or doing business with China. The WeChat app is an imperative component of everyday life for several in China and claims over 1 billion users.

The U.S. Judge also wrote that it is essential to establish or authenticate the threat the Chinese app has before taking any drastic steps of banning an app in the country.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler also wrote that till any alternatives are not found, it can be banned from government devices for safety issues. 

On Saturday there was an announcement of one week delay in a verdict on banning TikTok. Donald Trump is in discussion with ByteDance, Oracle and Walmart Inc to create altogether a new company to handle TikTok’s U.S. operations.