WeChat users and TikTok sue Trump over app bans

Icons for the smartphone apps TikTok and WeChat are seen on a smartphone screen in Beijing, in a Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 file photo
Icons for the smartphone apps TikTok and WeChat are seen on a smartphone screen in Beijing, in a Friday, Aug. 7, 2020 file photo Copyright AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File
Copyright AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File
By AP and AFP
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Trump announced the ban on the Chinese apps earlier in August. It's set to take effect on September 20.


US-based WeChat users are suing the US government in a bid to block an executive order barring access to the Chinese instant messaging app in the country.

The lawsuit was filed on Friday in San Francisco by the nonprofit US WeChat Users Alliance and other individuals who say to be relying on the app for work, worship or staying in touch with relatives in China.

The plaintiffs, who are not affiliated with WeChat or its parent company Tencent Holdings, said the ban would violate their freedom of speech, free exercise of religion and other constitutional rights.

At the same time, Tik Tok, another hugely popular Chinese messaging app, with nearly one billion users worldwide, said on Saturday that it is planning too a legal action to block the executive order.

"We have no choice but to challenge the executive order," TikTok said in a message sent to news agency AFP, "to ensure that the law is upheld and that our business and our users are treated fairly."

ByteDance, the owner of TikTok, said the appeal will be filed on Monday, though it didn't specify in which jurisdiction.

Trump on August 6 ordered sweeping but vague bans on WeChat and TikTok, saying they are a threat to US national security, foreign policy and the economy.

The twin executive orders — one for each app — are expected to take effect on September 20.

It remains unclear what the orders will mean for the apps’ millions of users in the US, but experts have said the orders appear intended to bar WeChat and TikTok from Apple Store and Google Play.

Trump gave ByteDance until around mid-November to sell its TikTok American operations. Microsoft signalled its interest, though Trump recently expressed support for a possible takeover by Oracle, an IT group co-founded by Larry Ellison, who raised millions of dollars for his election campaign.

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