The Justice Department is now requesting that a ban on WeChat, blocked by a federal judge, moves forward, halting downloads of the app in the US. That’s according to a recent report from CNET, detailing the request.
Summarily, the department is seeking to overturn an earlier ruling from US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler. The judge had blocked a Commerce Department order to end downloads and enforce other restrictions on the app. WeChat would, as a result, have stopped working properly in the country.
The Commerce Department order followed an executive order from President Donald J. Trump in early August that would have effectively seen the app removed from the Google Play Store and iOS. That order was pushed alongside an order to ban the popular short-form video app TikTok. And is broadly seen as a
Why was the stay put in place in favor of WeChat and what does the Justice Department want?
Now, the Justice Department is echoing concerns about WeChat and has asked Ms. Beeler for a stay on the injunction. The goal is reportedly to remove the app from the US market until after a case regarding the app and national security has gone through the courts. Or, at the very least, to stop new downloads and reduce functionality.
The stay itself was in response, in part, to a lawsuit filed against President Trump and the US government. In effect, that lawsuit argued that the ban was unconstitutional since many US citizens use the app as a primary means of communication. Particularly with regard to communications in Chinese and with loved ones who live outside of the US.
Judge Beeler seemed to agree with that assessment, finding “substantial Constitutional issues” according to US WeChat Users Alliance counsel Michael Bien. That’s based on a statement released by the attorney and other plaintiffs in the case. Similarly, according to that statement, the judge also found that severing the app from US WeChat users would cause “irreparable harm.”
This is the second time WeChat has received a reprieve but whether it holds is still an open question
The ruling in question marks the second time WeChat has been saved from the ban. In fact, both TikTok and WeChat managed to avoid being banned. The former company is also working on a deal with Oracle and Walmart that could ultimately see the ban halted for good. But things remain much less certain for WeChat.
WeChat is owned by the Chinese company Tencent. The company is among the largest stakeholders in some of the biggest apps and games on the market. Including the Riot Games’ title League of Legends. Tencent holds an 84-percent stock in Clash of Clans maker Supercell, an 80-percent stock in Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games, and owns 40-percent stock in Epic Games. That’s in addition to its subsidiary, TiMi Studios, working on Call of Duty Mobile and a wealth of other titles.