A preliminary injunction was issued by a federal judge that effectively blocked U.S. President Donald Trump's executive order to ban the use of the Chinese messaging mobile app WeChat. The decision came after a group of WeChat users filed a suit against the government to put a stop to the executive order.
Federal Judge Laurel Beeler wrote in her decision that the plaintiffs had raised "serious questions" pertaining to how the executive order had threatened their First Amendment rights. The U.S.-based users, which primarily depend on the mobile app to communicate within their community, claimed that the ban would greatly affect their way of life.
Beeler wrote that Chinese speakers living in the United States that have limited English proficiency have no real alternative options other than WeChat for their needs. She added that the executive order does infringe on some users' First Amendment rights.
Beeler clarified that part of her decision to block the order was due to a clear lack of evidence on how banning the mobile app would resolve the country's national security concerns. She explained that the plaintiffs had pointed out that there are other alternatives to an outright ban that would resolve some of the government's concerns.
"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," Beeler wrote.
The injunction to halt the complete ban of all WeChat downloads in the United States comes just a day after Trump mentioned that he had approved a deal between TikTok, Walmart, and Oracle. The previously stated restrictions that would have been imposed on both TikTok and WeChat were supposed to go into effect on Sunday. However, the Commerce Department had decided to postpone the implementation of the restriction for another seven days following Trump's approval of the deal.
With the injunction, the restrictions on WeChat will effectively be halted nationwide. The decision also halts the order to restrict internet companies from hosting WeChat's online traffic. The Commerce Department has yet to issue an official response to the Judge's decision.