Federal Judge Denies U.S. Government’s Attempt to Kill Preliminary Injunction Against WeChat Ban

A federal judge in San Francisco rejected the U.S. government’s attempt to defeat a previous court ruling on a preliminary injunction that halted a U.S. ban of Tencent Holdings’ WeChat app. Had the government succeeded, it would have been able to implement a ban of the app set forth by an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in August.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler (District Court for the Northern District of California) ruled Friday that new evidence presented by the government concerning alleged national security threats posed by the app was still insufficient and that the restrictions — if allowed to proceed — would “burden substantially” freedom of speech to “further the government’s legitimate interests.”

On Sept. 19,  Beeler granted the preliminary injunction to Tencent’s popular Chinese multi-purpose messaging, social media, and mobile payment app. 

The government filed an appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court on Oct. 2, but a ruling isn’t expected until early December.

The ongoing legal fight between the U.S. government and WeChat is part of a larger effort targeting companies with financial ties to Chinese companies including TikTok and various Tencent-connected companies such as Riot Games and Epic Games, among others.

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