Attempt to ban WeChat in the US blocked... for now

By Andrew Stubbings
Judge blocks a US government move to ban the Chinese payments and instant message app...

A Magistrate Judge has blocked the US Government's attempt to ban WeChat saying the move 'raised serious questions related to the constitution's first amendment, guaranteeing free speech'

Donald Trump has deemed the Chinese app a threat to national security and signed an Executive Order on August 6 to address these concerns. This weekend saw the US Department of Commerce issue a bar on WeChat appearing on App Stores, effectively shutting it down in the country. However, although agreeing that the evidence of a threat to national security from China through technology is 'considerable', San Francisco Magistrate Judge, Laurel Beeler noted that the specific evidence relating to WeChat is 'modest'.

WeChat has almost 20mn users in the United States and the app's multi-functional features have seen it become an increasingly vital tool in many people's lives. The news of a potential ban has caused distress to many, especially Chinese Americans, leading to the formation of a group calling itself 'The U.S WeChat Users Alliance' who filed the motion in federal court successfully leading to a delay in prohibition for now.

Unless an agreement can be reached, much like TikTok's recent deal with Technology giant Oracle, it's likely that US authorities will continue to push for a ban. Wilbur Ross, of The US Department of Commerce stated that WeChat collected "vast swathes of data from users, including location data, browsing and search histories" and went on to say that the Chinese Government "has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy and economy of the US"

Tencent, who owns WeChat insists that due to encryption others cannot view messages. Content such as text, audio and images are not stored on its servers and additionally are deleted once the intended recipients have seen them.

For more information on business topics in the United States and Canada, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief North America 

Follow Business Chief on LinkedIn and Twitter 


Featured Articles

DEI done right: Brook Sims, COO, MAC Diversity Recruiters

Passionate about helping others find their voice, diversity leader and COO Brook Sims talks powerful leadership, diverse teams and being a change agent

Q&A: China’s ecommerce innovator Jeff Li, CEO of Shoplazza

Named in Fortune China’s 40 under 40 for 2022, former Baidu head Jeff Li is the entrepreneurial founder and CEO of ecommerce platform Shoplazza

How hybrid work is revolutionising the physical office

As hybrid work models roll out worldwide, the purpose of the office is changing with collaboration, connection and networking taking centre stage

Trailblazer: Shanique Bonelli-Moore, DEI chief at Clorox


Dean Forbes – the Forterro CEO aiming for the moon

Leadership & Strategy

Why becoming a B Corp is good for business