What you need to know
- WeChat was supposed to be banned today.
- U.S. District Court temporarily stayed the ban.
- Oracle and Walmart are negotiating to buy the U.S. chapter of TikTok.
The Trump administration's TikTok and WeChat ban was set to partially go into effect today, September 20. Though TikTok was given an extension on the ban pending a potential purchase from Oracle and Walmart, WeChat was not given the same extension according to TechCrunch.
In a last-minute order, U.S. District Court Judge Laurel Beeler of San Francisco District Court stayed the ban. A group of WeChat users, named in the order as the U.S. WeChat Users Alliance, argued that because WeChat is used by U.S. citizens to communicate with friends and family, the ban infringes on free speech rights of Americans.
Judge Beeler's opinion states:
Certainly the government's overarching national-security interest is significant. But on this record — while the government has established that China's activities raise significant national- security concerns — it has put in scant little evidence that its effective ban of WeChat for all U.S. users addresses those concerns. And, as the plaintiffs point out, there 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.
This court case is set to proceed. The Commerce Department will have the opportunity to respond and either change the order, rescind the ban, or push forward to try to convince the federal courts that this ban is constitutional.