A judge in the United States has blocked the ban on Chinese chat app WeChat in app stores. The US Department of Commerce had instructed Google and Apple to remove the app from the US download stores before midnight, because data could be in Chinese hands. According to the Trump government, the app is a threat to US national security.
According to the federal judge in San Francisco, freedom of speech is threatened by a ban on the app. In addition, there is only a “modest amount” of evidence that Americans are actually at risk, according to the judge.
WeChat has about 19 million active users in the US every day. The app is mainly popular among Chinese students, Americans who live in China or have personal or business relationships there. WeChat is not only an important chat app, but also the operating system of many users in China. They can also make purchases, and arrange insurance and banking.
Stakeholders sued because they feared that they could no longer contact their family in China, which they considered to be a violation of freedom of expression. The app is used by most of the Chinese. Many Western apps and social media have been banned by Beijing, making WeChat one of the few ways for Chinese-speaking Americans to send messages to friends and acquaintances.
The ban also applied to video app TikTok, but was postponed by a week by an agreement with the American software company Oracle and Walmart department store. In the meantime, the deal needs to be concluded.