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Will You Be Able to Use WeChat in the U.S. After It's Banned?

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The Trump administration has been vocal about wanting to ban Chinese-owned apps in the U.S., especially apps like TikTok. The president previously issued a statement saying he planned to ban TikTok's use in the U.S., and while he's maintained an eventual ban, he's now given the video-sharing app a chance to be bought by a U.S. company. 

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Now, the Trump administration is extending that ban to WeChat, though the messaging app is being given less time before the ban takes place.

If you're a WeChat user, can you still use the app after the ban? 

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Source: WeChat
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President Trump attempted to place a ban on WeChat.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, the ban on WeChat is out of fear that the Chinese government is using the app to collect data on U.S. users. 

"The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S.," the Department of Commerce said in an announcement.

The ban was meant to restrict the use of the Tencent-owned app, making it nearly unusable.

WeChat is a messaging app mostly used by U.S. residents communicating and sending money back home to family in China, as well as by some companies that do business in China. By banning its use in the U.S., many U.S.-based companies could also lose profits internationally.

However, before the ban could be put in place on Sept. 20, 2020, a federal judge blocked President Trump's executive order, citing Americans' First Amendment rights, according to The New York Times.

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While it seems the app will be safe in the U.S. for now, it's possible the administration will seek to overturn this ruling, potentially putting the ban back in motion.

“Prohibiting the identified transactions is necessary to protect the national security of the United States, and the department expects to soon seek relief from this order,” the Commerce Department said, according to Reuters.

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At this time, using WeChat after the ban will not be possible.

The Trump administration is ordering WeChat and TikTok to be removed from all app stores in the U.S. on Sept. 20, 2020, making it unavailable to download in the country. Initially, the ban would not remove the app from users' devices, though they would be unable to receive necessary updates to keep the app functioning.

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Source: iStock
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With WeChat, the app would have lost all functionality in the U.S. starting on Sept. 20, as the ban blocks all use “for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S." This ban also would've rendered communication methods through the app unusable.

In response to the ban, WeChat's parent company Tencent said they're actively looking for a solution to resume the app's functionality in the country.

"WeChat was designed to serve international users outside of mainland China and has always incorporated the highest standards of user privacy and data security," a statement from the company read. "The restrictions announced today are unfortunate, but given our desire to provide ongoing services to our users in the U.S. — for whom WeChat is an important communication tool — we will continue to discuss with the government and other stakeholders in the U.S. ways to achieve a long-term solution."

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