U.S. Government Seeks Stay of Preliminary Injunction Against WeChat Ban

On Friday morning, the Justice Department filed a motion with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco seeking a stay of the preliminary injunction granted on behalf of WeChat on Sept. 20. 

Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler issued a preliminary injunction halting a ban on WeChat that would have removed Tencent’s multi-purpose messaging, social media, and mobile payment app from both the Google Play store and Apple App Store.  Beeler ruled that the ban would violate the First Amendment rights of WeChat users and noted that the government did not provide sufficient proof that WeChat poses a threat to national security.

In the Friday filing, Justice Department lawyers asked the court to put a hold on the injunction pending an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court, and possibly to the U.S. Supreme Court, and for a ruling on this new motion by Oct. 1.

The preliminary injunction was filed by the U.S. WeChat User Alliance on behalf of its members, with the aim of halting an executive order signed by President Donald Trump on Aug. 6. 

The move against WeChat is part of a larger government effort targeting companies with deep financial ties to Chinese companies that includes TikTok and various Tencent-connected companies including Riot Games and Epic Games, among others.

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