The topic under consideration is the reasons behind the ban of the Chinese social app WeChat in the United States. Even though WeChat is one of the most popular communicative platforms in the world, its American equivalents are fully capable of handling the competition without the introduction of regulatory barriers. Nevertheless, the app appeared to be a serious threat to then-president Trump, who made a decision to prohibit its continued support of it. Understanding what constituted the reasoning behind the presidential distrust of WeChat is essential in ascertaining the effect it had on its users both in the US and China.
The ban on WeChat was a logical continuation of the rising tensions between China and the US. Both countries have conflicting interests in the international arena, which results in consistent mutual distrust and attempts to undermine each other’s influence via economic, political, and social means. The WeChat ban is an expression of the larger confrontation of interests. The app has been criticized for the deliberate collection of information on its users all around the world (Knockel et al.). The US views such technology as potentially threatening to national security, which is an extremely sensitive subject on the governmental level. Therefore, once the president received the data indicating Chinese surveillance, the ban of the app was practically inevitable.
However, the magnitude of the decision to ban WeChat has been evident first and foremost in the US. First, there were at least 1,4 million people in the US who used WeChat around the time of its ban (Most Popular Mobile Messaging Apps). This implies that once the support was seized, a large number of users lost communicative opportunities on the basis of WeChat. Secondly, WeChat is a primary form of communication with people who live in China (Wakabayashi et al.). Considering the widespread Chinese diaspora in the US, many users were denied contact with their friends, family, and acquaintances in China. Similarly, Chinese users could no longer reach their interlocutors in the US. Therefore, by attempting to protect the country from foreign surveillance, the US government has, in reality, affected its own citizens who have close relations with the Chinese.
The report by Knockel et al. will constitute a major source for the essay. The paper was written by the Canadian researchers at the University of Toronto. Specifically, The Citizen Lab is the institution responsible for its publication. The Citizen Lab is a research laboratory which analyzes global affairs and public policies. Its approach is particularly beneficial in the study of the WeChat ban because the researchers focus on both sides of the conflict of interest and link this event to a larger political context.
Considering the subject matter of the essay, the narrative introduction is most appropriate. The opening paragraph will focus on people with close friendships and familial ties with China who have lost their ability to maintain communication with them over the course of two weeks. Next, the reason behind such a loss will be elaborated. Specifically, governmental fear of foreign surveillance will be accentuated as the primary causative factor behind the ban. Using this type of introduction creates immediate emotional involvement and contributes to the understanding of the actual effects of political decisions on people.
The proposed thesis is this: concerns about the national security of the US caused the ban of WeChat, which resulted in a large number of users in both countries being unable to contact their friends and family. First, at some point, a technical assessment of the app’s functionality showcased the collection of private data of users (Knockel et al.). Second, the US government banned WeChat as a retaliatory measure against the rising influence of China. Third, the citizens of both countries have lost the opportunity to communicate with each other due to WeChat being the only service available in both China and the US. As a result, not only did the American and Chinese citizens affected, but the ban was another step in the US-China standoff.
Knockel, Jeffrey, et al. “We Chat, They Watch.” The Citizen Lab, 2020, Web.
Wakabayashi, Daisuke, et al. “‘It’s So Essential’: WeChat Ban Makes U.S.-China Standoff Personal.” The New York Times, 2020, Web.