WeChat users sue Trump administration over ban
A group of WeChat users filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump administration. This lawsuit has been filed in a bid to block the president’s executive order of barring the popular app, calling the prohibition unconstitutional.
The lawsuit says the ban on WeChat is a violation of the First Amendment free speech rights and that it is targeting the Chinese community in the US. The lawsuit has been filed in the US District Court in San Francisco.
The lawsuit also argues that the ban targets Chinese-Americans. “It is the primary app Chinese-speakers in the US use to participate in social life by connecting with loved ones, sharing special moments, arguing ideas, receiving news, and participating in political discussions and advocacy,” the lawsuit states, and has “become essential to the conduct of daily life for its users, many of whom regularly spend hours each day on the app.”
The user group’s lawsuit calls the order by President Donald Trump administration vague and says it fails to provide evidence that WeChat poses a threat to US national security.
The WeChat user alliance that filed the suit is made up of people who rely upon WeChat for private and enterprise functions. They even depend on WeChat for personal and business purposes. WeChat users group says it isn’t affiliated with the app’s owner.
Michael Bien, one of the groups’ attorneys said, “We think it would be unconstitutional to ban the use of the app if that’s what they finally come out with. If they take the app off the market, we will fight it.”
WeChat is broadly used for shopping, funds, and different business transactions in China; with an estimated 1 billion customers in that nation, in comparison with 1.5 million customers within the US.
WeChat combines social media, text messages, mobile payments, corporate marketing, and other functions, and is used extensively in China and by US companies that do business there.
The app is very popular with Chinese mobile device users, essentially operating as its own platform on top of iOS and Android for many users, but the app is also widely used around the world and has over 1.2 billion monthly active users.
As per a survey, 95 percent of the 1.2 million WeChat users said they would switch to an Android smartphone over an iPhone rather than give up WeChat due to the ban.
Many apps owned by Chinese tech companies continue to be in the line of fire in many countries, including India and the US.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order earlier this month banning US transactions on WeChat, calling the messaging app owned TenCent a significant threat to national security.
Last week TikTok also confirmed it plans to sue the Trump administration over the order of its ban. The companybeen in talks with Microsoft about its acquiring TikTok’s US operations. Other companies including Twitter and Oracle also were reportedly in separate talks with TikTok.
Each order of ban invokes the Emergency Financial Powers Act and the Nationwide Emergencies Act in US. The ban by President Trump would prohibit any US transactions with the apps WeChat and Tiktok or their parent companies Tencent and ByteDance.
Earlier this month, many American firms together with Apple, Ford, Disney, and Walmart pushed against the WeChat ban, telling White House officers how a WeChat ban could be problematic for them and their companies. They said not being able to market products or handle transactions on WeChat would significantly hamper their operations in China and their ability to reach Chinese consumers.