WeChat and TikTok Win Preliminary Injunctions Against Trump Administration’s Efforts to Ban the Apps – Lexology

The June 10, 2020 Trending Law Blog post discussed President Donald Trump’s plan to strongly regulate or close down certain social media platforms and the Executive Order he issued on May 28, 2020 to accomplish that goal. Thereafter, on August 6, 2020, President Trump issued two additional Executive Orders – Executive Order 13942 (to address “the threat” posed by the social networking service TikTok) and Executive Order 13943 (to address “the threat” posed by the messaging, social media and mobile payment app WeChat). The legality of both of the Executive Orders were successfully challenged in two district courts with preliminary injunctions being granted by two judges to enjoin the implementation, in part, of the two Executive Orders.

Executive Order 13943 – WeChat

On September 19, 2020, Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California issued a preliminary injunction against the implementation of Executive Order 13943. In the action, plaintiffs, who were users of the WeChat App, challenged the legality of the Executive Order, which prohibited undefined transactions relating to WeChat because of national security concerns.

Plaintiffs asserted several constitutional, statutory and procedural bases in their complaint and in support of their application for a preliminary injunction. The court relied on one of those arguments to grant the relief, finding that plaintiffs had “shown serious questions going to the merits of the First Amendment claim, the balance of