Citing President Trump's executive order, U.S. oil giant Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has instructed all of its employees to delete Tencent Holdings' (OTC:TCEHY) WeChat app from their work phones by this Sunday, Bloomberg News reported today.
Identifying the app -- which combines messaging, payment, and social functions -- as a "non-compliant application," the instructions were apparently delivered to employees across the globe.
To ban or not to ban
The fate of Trump's executive order banning both WeChat and TikTok has been thrown into doubt by the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, where U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler issued a preliminary injunction against the order, citing free speech concerns.
WeChat "serves as a virtual public square for the Chinese-speaking and Chinese-American community in the United States," wrote Beeler, adding that a potential ban of the app would prevent "meaningful access to communication" in the Chinese-American community, and thus impede free speech. The U.S. Commerce Department has said it will appeal the order.
A rock and a hard place
With the ban in legal limbo, companies are being forced to make tough decisions about how to proceed. Chevron decided to go ahead with its companywide removal requirement, becoming one of the first U.S. companies to do so.
The text of the company's memo read, in part: "Due to a recent Executive Order banning the use of WeChat, Chevron is requiring that you remove the application from your mobile device. If no action is taken, prior to September 27, 2020, your access to the Chevron system will be removed."