Legal

WeChat Users Sue Trump Administration Over Ban

Big Business Takes Up Arms Against WeChat Ban

A group of WeChat users filed a lawsuit against the President Donald Trump administration in a bid to block the president’s executive order that would bar transactions on the app, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

The U.S. WeChat Users Alliance, a nonprofit organization that relies on the app for work and keeping in touch with relatives in China, filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in San Francisco late Friday, (Aug. 21). It alleges Trump's directive is unconstitutional.

WeChat is a multi-purpose messaging, social media and mobile payment app developed by Tencent Holdings. The plaintiffs are not connected with the popular app or Tencent, WSJ reported.

“We think it would be unconstitutional to ban the use of the app if that’s what they finally come out with,” Michael Bien, one of the groups’ attorneys, told WSJ. “If they take the app off the market, we will fight it.”

Earlier this month, Trump ordered the sweeping bans on transactions with the Chinese owners of WeChat and TikTok, a popular video-sharing app, alleging they are a threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy and the economy.

"Like TikTok, WeChat automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users," the executive order on WeChat said. "This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information."

The ban would prohibit any U.S. transactions with the apps or their parent companies, Tencent and ByteDance.

Both companies have denied the allegations.

Earlier this month, Tencent reported that its second quarter net profits increased by 37 percent, beating market predictions as demand soared as a result of stay-at-home orders from the pandemic. Revenue from online games, one-third of total sales, swelled 40 percent. Revenues from FinTech and business services grew by 30 percent to $4.3 billion.

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