Trump's App Ban Halted on Free Speech Concerns

Trump's App Ban Halted on Free Speech Concerns
(AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The Trump administration’s curbs on WeChat were put on hold by a judge, upending an effort to halt use of the Chinese-owned app in the U.S.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler in San Francisco issued a preliminary injunction at the request of a group of U.S. WeChat users, who argued the prohibitions would violate the free-speech rights of millions of Chinese-speaking Americans who rely on it. The app, which was supposed to disappear from U.S. app stores on Sunday, has 19 million regular users in the U.S. and 1 billion worldwide.

The ruling means that neither WeChat nor TikTok, another Chinese-owned mobile app targeted by President Donald Trump’s executive order, will become immediately unavailable in the U.S. Trump cited national security concerns in banning the apps, but TikTok Inc. and the WeChat users’ group have said the president is trying to bolster his re-election chances by attacking China and Chinese companies.

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