Facebook Inc, Google Inc and Twitter Inc have suspended processing government requests for user data in Hong Kong, they said on Monday, following China’s establishment of a sweeping new national security law for the semi-autonomous city.
Facebook, which also owns WhatsApp and Instagram, said in a statement it was pausing reviews for all of its services “pending further assessment of the National Security Law.”
Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, and Twitter said they suspended their reviews of data requests from Hong Kong authorities immediately after the law went into effect last week.
Twitter cited “grave concerns” about the law’s implications.
Google said it would continue reviewing Hong Kong government requests for removals of user-generated content from its services. Twitter declined to comment, while Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
Social networks often apply localized restrictions to posts that violate local laws but not their own rules for acceptable speech. Facebook restricted 394 such pieces of content in Hong Kong in the second half of 2019, up from eight in the first half of the year, according to its transparency report.