Judge blocks Trump’s WeChat ban; Plaintiffs cite threat to First Ammendment

Judge blocks Trump's WeChat ban; Plaintiffs cite threat to First Ammendment

A federal judge has reportedly issued a preliminary injunction on President Donald Trump’s executive order banning WeChat in the U.S.

Tencent‘s WeChat app has been the subject of one of President Trump‘s recent ban orders. However, Judge Laurel Beeler found merit on the plaintiffs’ ground citing the ban as a threat to their First Ammendment, CNN reports.

Judge’s WeChat decision

Per the same publication, the plaintiffs challenging Trump’s WeChat ban order is a “a group of US-based WeChat users,” who will be affected by it.

They centered Trump’s executive power on the app ban as a threat to their First Ammendment.

Judge Beelers says:

“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.”

Bloomberg further cites the judge’s ruling that to effectively ban the app, it “forecloses meaningful access to communication in their community and thereby operates as a prior restraint on their right to free speech.”

Furthmore, the respective federal judge cites that there’s barely little evidence proving that by banning WeChat in the U.S. addresses the government’s concern on national security.

As many media outlets have reported, President Trump believes that Chinese apps, such WeChat and TikTok, are threats to the U.S. security. Most especially when multiple reports claim that there have been a breach in data security at some point.

Nonetheless, it is believed that the ban is turning out to be further from the goal of protection U.S. citizens. In fact, many critics believe that this has led to be a form of “economic bullying” instead.

There are other alternatives aside from a ban

Moreover, Judge Beeler acknowledge’s what the plaintiff pointed out, which is other alternatives in protecting national security without banning the communications app.

Beeler wrote:

“[T]here are obvious alternatives to a complete ban, such as barring WeChat from government devices, as Australia has done, or taking other steps to address data security.”

In a statement by the attorney of the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance, Michael Bien, says the country has ” has never shut down a major platform for communications, not even during war times.”

He further expressed:

“There are serious First Amendment problems with the WeChat ban, which targets the Chinese American community and trampled on their First Amendment guaranteed freedoms to speak, to worship, to read and react to the press, and to organize and associate for numerous purposes.”

Accordingly, due to Judge Beeler’s ruling, reports confirm that WeChat, even TikTok, will not become “immediately unavailable” in the United States.

Of course, Beeler’s decision came after Trump accepted Oracle’s TikTok bid, wherein US$5 billion was requested as tax payment, among other terms of the said deal.


Featured image courtesy of BBC Click/YouTube Thumbnail

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