Hours before it was due to take effect, a federal judge on Sunday blocked the Commerce Department’s ban on the new downloads of China-based messaging app WeChat, AFP reported.
A California court ruling said it granted the “motion for a nationwide injunction against the implementation” of the government order, with the judge citing concerns over free speech.
Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler, of the US District Court for the District of Northern California, said that there is merit in the argument of the plaintiffs in the case. WeChat Alliance, a group of users who filed the lawsuit had argued that the decision breaches the First Amendment.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” reads the first amendment to the US Constitution.
According to experts, the order against WeChat would have slowed it down and made it unusable in the United States. Owned by technology giant Tencent, WeChat in the United States has around 19 million active daily users.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump on Saturday approved a deal allowing Silicon Valley giant Oracle to become the data partner for hugely popular TikTok to avert a shutdown of that app.
Subsequently, the US Department of Commerce on Saturday announced that it was postponing the ban on TikTok downloads until September 27, due to “recent positive developments.
Earlier they had said that China used the two apps “to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the US.”