07.06.20 - Facebook and its WhatsApp subsidiary have announced that they will stop reviewing requests for user data from Hong Kong authorities.
The decision comes amid China’s passing of a national-security law for Hong Kong that broadened the powers of mainland Chinese law-enforcement authorities in the city-state.
Facebook said in a statement that it was pausing reviews of data requests pending further assessment, which includes consulting with human-rights experts, according to the newspaper.
Facebook isn’t accessible in mainland China and doesn’t process user data requests from mainland China. However, it reviewed 241 such requests in Hong Kong in the second half of 2019 and produced some data in 46% of the cases, according to Facebook’s transparency report.
Facebook’s decision could result in blowback and make it challenge to operate in Hong Kong. The social-media giant typically doesn’t defy local laws in countries like Vietnam and Singapore, which are also vulnerable to free speech crackdowns, out of fear it could be blocked or lose advertising revenue. However, it’s unlikely Facebook will be banned in Hong Kong as it’s still a major international hub for business and commerce.
Source: Wall Street Journal