As part of the Trump administration's crackdown on Chinese apps, the US government is set to ban all transactions with Tencent, the owner of WeChat, beginning on September 20. As that deadline approaches, the US Justice Department has issued a filing clarifying that it does not plan to penalize individual WeChat users themselves as part of the ban.
This news will likely be a small relief to the group of WeChat users in the US who filed a motion seeking to bar the Trump administration from banning the app's use by individuals, businesses, and groups. The response from the Justice Department confirms that it has no plans to go after people who download WeChat for personal or business use, and that these kinds of users will not face any sort of criminal or civil charges.
The Justice Department did state that usage of the app might be impacted through measures targeted at other types of transactions, however. As we wrote last month, banning all transactions with Tencent might have major ramifications, as the company has stakes in hundreds of US corporations like Activision and Tesla. It may be the right call though, considering the damning results of an investigation into WeChat from earlier this year.