The US Department of Justice said: WeChat users will not face civil or criminal penalties even if banned United State China-owned messaging app through other actions next week.
In August, President Donald Trump unveiled a proposed blanket ban on US transactions with Tencent, the owner of the popular Chinese app.
The executive order, which described ByteDance’s short video app TikTok and Tencent’s WeChat application, pose major threats to national security, followed massive US efforts to remove untrusted Chinese applications from US digital networks.
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is due to issue regulations by Sunday to clarify which WeChat transactions will be banned.
WeChat users have filed an application in the US District Court in San Francisco requesting a preliminary injunction to prevent the Trump administration from banning the use of the Chinese app in the United States for individual, corporate and group users.
The Department of Justice responded in a Wednesday filing that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross does not plan to target people or groups who download WeChat or only use it to transmit personal or commercial information.
The ministry said: WeChat users will not be subject to sanctions under the President’s Executive Order (Donald Trump) banning transactions with the Tencent-owned messaging app.
But the administration added that the application’s use of such communications could be affected directly or indirectly by actions targeting other transactions.
WeChat users who have filed a lawsuit said: The order bans millions of WeChat users in the United States from using the most popular social media space for Chinese speakers in the world.
The app has been downloaded 19 million times in the US, according to data from the market research firm (Sensor Tower).
In China the app is ubiquitous as a middleman for services, games and payments.
Trump’s order stipulates that WeChat automatically collects large amounts of information from its users, which threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party to access personal information about Americans.
The WeChat User Alliance in the United States said in Message Open: The Complete App Ban is severely affecting the lives of millions of people in the United States.