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WeChat Ban Request Halted by US Judge

California’s District Judge Carl Nichols who joined last year has rejected the request from the Department of Justice to reverse a previous decision allowing Chinese social media app WeChat to remain active in US app stores. US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler said the government submitted evidence does not change her opinion about the messaging app, owned by the Chinese company Tencent app. So she ordered WeChat will remain active in US app stores for the time being and temporarily halts Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s request. 

Beeler’s prior request obstructed the Commerce Department boycott of US exchanges on WeChat. And keeping in mind that the legislature asserted it has distinguished “critical” dangers to public security, Beeler didn’t show up convinced. She said in her September 20th request that a gathering of WeChat clients considering themselves the WeChat Alliance had demonstrated there were “severe questions” about whether the boycott would conceivably abuse their First Amendment rights.

John E. Hall, a lawyer for TikTok, had argued around a 90-minute Sunday morning hearing that the ban was “unprecedented” and “irrational.”

TikTok Partnered With Oracle

The Trump organization likewise needed to boycott video sharing application TikTok, claimed by Chinese based ByteDance, on similar grounds, and President Trump requested the organization be sold. But instead of a sale, a provisional understanding made Oracle TikTok’s believed innovation accomplice in the US and made another substance called TikTok Global. The TikTok and Oracle partnership deal has not yet been finished. On September 27th, US District Judge Carl Nichols conceded a fundamental directive against a restriction on new downloads of TikTok in the US hours before it would have produced results.

ByteDance said on Sept. 20 they made a preliminary deal for Walmart Inc and Oracle to take stakes in a new organization, TikTok Global that would manage U.S. operations. The deal is still to be checked by the U.S. government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

Justice Department attorney Serena Orloff said at a hearing earlier this month, Tencent can collect a “digital facsimile of a person’s life” on WeChat and also the administration’s position that the company is connected to the Chinese Communist Party. This app is also banned in India and some other countries due to security concerns and people afraid to use whether is WeChat safe to use or not.

The group is not officially connected to WeChat, but they said there is no alternative app same as WeChat does, and argued it is the primary and easiest way for Chinese language speakers in the US to connect with their family in China as well as receive information locally. 

WeChat’s US Statistics

WeChat has 19 million active US users and 1 billion users globally. It has been downloaded around 22 million times in the United States since 2014, which about 7 percent of downloads from outside China.

The US Justice Department also has appealed against Beeler’s decision to the Ninth Circuit, but a final hearing is not expected before December 2020.

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