Facebook and Twitter no longer provide user data to the Hong Kong authorities. They stop processing all requests. The tech companies are protesting against the controversial security law introduced in Hong Kong at the insistence of the Chinese government.
The law should put an end to protracted unrest in Hong Kong, but critics say the new rules are only intended to silence opponents of the Beijing regime. Data from tech companies, which are required by law to be surrendered upon request, could assist authorities in detecting and addressing protesters.
The American tech companies say they don’t want to cooperate because they think freedom of speech is very important.
According to the two companies, it is a “break”. They want the guarantee that their information will not be used against demonstrators. After that, they may want to share the user information again. It is not clear what legal consequences the refusal of Facebook and Twitter has.
Another tech company, the Chinese TikTok, is stopping selling its app in Hong Kong in protest of the introduction of the security law. A spokesperson tells Reuters news agency that the app will no longer be available in the city state within a few days.
TikTok said earlier that it does not share information with the Chinese authorities anyway.
The past few months have seen massive demonstrations in Hong Kong against the introduction of the new security law. Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets every day, but that didn’t stop introduction.
According to Hong Kong driver Carrie Lam, the law is bringing peace back and Hong Kong is once again becoming one of the safest cities in the world.
US wants to get rid of Chinese apps
The United States is looking into whether it is possible to ban apps from Chinese social media in the country. TikTok, among other things, could then no longer be installed by users in the US.
“We are definitely looking at it, but I don’t want to pre-empt what the President will decide,” said US Secretary of State Pompeo to TV channel Fox News.