In addition to TikTok, another app was now considered a threat to public safety in the USA. The U.S. government initiated a ban process against the WhatsApp equivalent WeChat. A ban was intended to destroy any further activity of the app in the USA. However, a court stopped the government’s attempt for the time being.
WeChat remains available
Users of the WeChat service can breathe a sigh of relief. The communication app will continue to be available in the USA. At least for the time being. The reason for this is the harsh crackdown by a judge in the US state of California. Yesterday, she issued a temporary injunction to suspend the ban without further ado. As of today, September 21, 2020, WeChat should no longer be available for download in the usual platforms such as the Google Play Store or Apple‘s Appstore. This cut would have hit the WeChat community hard. After all, the app now has several million members in the USA.
The app is very popular in the USA
But why do so many Americans use the app? Instead, they might as well use WhatsApp from Facebook. The reason is obvious. Many people with a Chinese immigrant background live in the USA. Since WhatsApp is not available in China, they have to resort to an alternative. With WeChat they have found it. Thanks to the application, communication with friends and family in the Far East is no problem. However, this was not enough for the US government as a reason. Too great is the fear that WeChat could possibly forward the user data to the Chinese government. Here a clear parallel can be seen to Trump’s efforts to ban TikTok.
Judge justifies with not existing alternative
The US government’s intention could not find an open ear with the responsible Californian judge. Without further ado, she issued a temporary injunction that nullifies the intended ban for the time being. In her reasoning, she explained that it is simply not possible for users of WeChat to use an alternative. In order to maintain contact with China, she said, it must be possible to use WeChat. In her opinion, a ban would mean nothing less than a ban on the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech. If WeChat were to be banned now, the damage would simply be too great. Even if the court’s remarks are plausible, the judge could not convince the US government. She is still of the opinion that security concerns outweigh freedom of speech. Only a complete ban could dispel these concerns.
USA vs. China enters the next round
After TikTok, the US government has now set its sights on the next Chinese company. But maybe WeChat is about as lucky as the short video app by developer Bytedance. It seems to be saved after a deal with Walmart and Oracle (we reported). We will keep you informed about the further developments around the prohibition ambitions against WeChat.