Federal judge blocks Trump ban on WeChat downloads
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Federal judge blocks Trump ban on WeChat downloads

US Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler granted a preliminary injunction Saturday against President Donald Trump’s Executive Order 13943 to prohibit transactions related to WeChat.

Citing concerns with national security since WeChat is owned by Tencent Holdings, a Chinese company, Trump prohibited “any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd.” On Friday, the Commerce Department also issued a press release outlining the specific prohibited transactions on WeChat, originally effective September 20.

In reviewing the constitutionality of the Executive Order, Beeler agreed that there would be serious First Amendment concerns impacting the Chinese-American and Chinese-speaking community who use WeChat as their primary platform for communication. In addition, there was not enough narrowly tailored evidence suggesting that WeChat specifically poses a threat to national security compared to the potential constitutional violations.

With the injunction barring the implementation of Trump’s executive order, Apple and Google did not have to remove WeChat for download by Sunday evening.