On Friday, a U.S. judge in San Francisco denied the request of the government to reverse the unban of the WeChat; allowing it to remain active in the U.S app stores.
WeChat was set up in 2011 and is described as an “app for everyone” in China. It is a multi-purpose app, allowing users to send messages; also make mobile payments; as well as use local services. The application has an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States; and is also very popular among people having personal or business relationships in China.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said that the evidence presented by the government against WeChat was not enough to convince her regarding any national security threat. The government has appealed against Beeler’s decision to allow WeChat to operate in the U.S to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.
“The record does not support the conclusion that the government has ‘narrowly tailored’ the prohibited transactions to protect its national security interests,” Beeler wrote in her decision on Friday. WeChat users argued that the government has tried to ban an entire medium of communication merely on suspicion of harm from the Americans’ use of WeChat.
Trump administration also sought to ban the short video-sharing app, TikTok; owned by the Beijing-based ByteDance. The Chinese government stated that the U.S. ban on Chinese apps is inconsistent with WTO rules; and also restricts cross-border trading services.