For all its sinister aspects, its loss to Chinese in America would be sorely felt
When news broke on August 6th of an order from President Donald Trump
that could result in the shutdown of WeChat in America, panic broke out among users of the super-app that is the digital bedrock of Chinese society.
They shared and reposted step-by-step guides about how to download records of their WeChat conversations and of pictures and videos they had shared through the platform lest they suddenly become inaccessible.
Mr Trump’s vaguely worded ban on “transactions” with WeChat, citing national-security concerns, will affect fewer people in America than his similar move against TikTok, a hugely popular video-sharing app.
But for WeChat’s millions of users in Americaขmainly ethnic Chinese who depend on it to communicate with family and friends in Chinaขthe consequences of Mr Trump’s efforts to contain the WeChat “threat” could be devastating.
It would also be a blow to many businesspeople who use it for dealings with counterparts in China.