Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s WeChat app appears in the App Store on a smartphone in an arranged photo taken in Arlington, Virginia on Friday, August 7, 2020.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
WASHINGTON – A US judge in California has stopped the Trump administration̵
The move prevents the trading division from forcing Alphabet’s Apple and Google to remove Tencent Holding’s WeChat for download by Sunday evening.
California US Judge Laurel Beeler said in a ruling that WeChat users who filed a lawsuit have “raised serious questions about the merits of the First Amendment claim, the hardship balance benefits plaintiffs”.
Beeler’s injunction also blocked the Commerce Regulation, which would have prevented other transactions with WeChat in the US that could have made the site less user-friendly for current US users.
The US Department of Commerce and the White House did not respond immediately.
The Commerce Department announced on Friday morning that it would ban US business transactions using Chinese social apps WeChat and TikTok on Sunday.
Continue reading: Trump blocked TikTok, WeChat from downloading on Sunday
Commerce Department officials, who spoke to reporters on Friday on condition of anonymity, explained the next steps for WeChat users in the US.
“We anticipate that users in the US may have some ease of use to the app. Given that WeChat relies heavily on content delivery services in the US to optimize the app and ensure that content matches the required speeds can be provided, “said a Commerce Department official.
“Users will experience some dysfunction and latency to the point of failure, message, or timeout. So we assume that this may be usable but may not function particularly well after Sunday “added the official.
Commerce Department officials also said they were preparing for a lengthy legal battle when they called reporters.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump said he had approved a deal that would see Oracle and Walmart partnering with the viral video sharing app TikTok to help the popular app avoid a shutdown.
The Trump administration said in July, amid deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing, it was considering banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, citing national security concerns.
Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo said the government is evaluating TikTok, similar to state-backed Chinese tech companies Huawei and ZTE, which he previously referred to as “Trojan horses for Chinese intelligence.”
US officials have long complained that intellectual property theft in China has cost the economy billions of dollars in revenue, thousands of jobs, and threatened national security. Beijing claims it was not involved in intellectual property theft.