U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler blocked an order by the Trump administration on Sunday that would have banned Chinese-owned messaging application WeChat from the Google and Apple app stores. Judge Beeler said that the order presents First Amendment concerns for users of the platform.
According to a report by CNBC, a California judge blocked an order by the Trump administration that would have effectively blocked the WeChat messaging application from popular mobile app stores. Some analysts feared that the China-based applications posed information security concerns for American users.
The group of plaintiffs that filed a lawsuit believe that the order would infringe upon their First Amendment rights. In her injunction order, U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler argued that the plaintiffs have sufficiently established the necessary elements to establish their claim.
“In the attached order, the court grants the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction on the ground that the plaintiffs have shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of hardships tips in the plaintiffs’ favor, and the plaintiffs establish sufficiently the other elements for preliminary-injunctive relief,” Judge Beeler wrote in the order.
An official from the Commerce Department said that the order will likely impact the performance of the application. “We expect there may be some usability for users in the United States with the app but given the fact that WeChat is heavily reliant on content delivery services in the United States to optimize the app and make sure that content can be delivered with the necessary speeds,” the official said.
“Users will experience some dysfunction and latency to the point where there will be an outage or a message or something will timeout. So, we do expect it may be usable but it may not be particularly functional after Sunday,” the official continued.
Breitbart News reported in August that tech giants had expressed concern that a ban on WeChat in the United States would impact their international business profits. U.S. companies operating in China use WeChat to market products to Chinese consumers.
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