With the ongoing war between the US and some big Chinese brands such as TikTok and WeChat, a judge in San Francisco on Friday had rejected the Justice Department request to pull WeChat from both Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
The Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler who presided over the case stated that the government’s new evidence against the Chinese brand WeChat doesn’t change her opinion about the service. As it has with Chinese video app TikTok, the Justice Department has argued WeChat threatens national security.
WeChat currently has an average of 19 million daily active users in the United States alone as its popular among Chinese students as well as Americans who lives in Chine and others who are basically using the service to transact business operations with other Chinese business people.
The service is built to serve as an all-in-one application which has all the features of social networking, instant messaging and communication baked into the single application which makes it one of the biggest in China as it boosts some 1 billion users.
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The Justice Department has appealed the previous Beeler’s decision to not bar the service from the US app stores.
In a suit brought by WeChat users, Beeler last month blocked a U.S. Commerce Department order set to take effect on Sept. 20 that would have required the app to be removed from U.S. app stores.
Meanwhile the Commerce Department order would also bar transactions with WeChat which would render the service almost useless in the US.
“The record does not support the conclusion that the government has ‘narrowly tailored’ the prohibited transactions to protect its national-security interests,” Beeler wrote on Friday.
She said the evidence “supports the conclusion that the restrictions ‘burden substantially more speech than is necessary to further the government’s legitimate interests.’”
WeChat users argued the government sought “an unprecedented ban of an entire medium of communication” and offered only “speculation” of harm from Americans’ use of WeChat.
In a similar case, a U.S. appeals court agreed to fast-track a government appeal of a ruling blocking the government from banning new downloads from U.S. app stores of Chinese-owned short video-sharing app TikTok.