Twitter and Facebook asked to bow to Hong Kong authorities (for now)

Oh hey would you look at it: Twitter and Facebook just did something cool.

Two tech giants tentatively took a stand for their Hong Kong users, following the passage of a new restrictive national security law(opens in a new tab) Last week. Both companies confirmed to Mashable that for the time being, they have stopped responding to data requests from Hong Kong law enforcement as they evaluate the law.

A main point of concern is that the measure, which human rights activists worry about, is designed to curtail freedom of expression.(opens in a new tab) In Hong Kong, its passage was hurried and allowed for life sentences for poorly defined crimes.

“Given the speed with which the new national security law was passed in China and was published in full for the first time last week,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an email, “our teams are reviewing the law.” . assess its implications, particularly as some of the terms of the law are vague and without clear definition.”

Twitter confirmed that it took this action shortly after the law was passed.

“Like many public interest organizations, civil society leaders and organizations, and industry peers, we have serious concerns about both the developing process and the full intent of this legislation,” the spokesperson continued.

Facebook, for its part, is taking a similar approach.

“We have a global process for government requests, and in reviewing each individual request, we consider Facebook’s policies, local laws and international human rights standards,” a Facebook spokesperson said in an email. “We are pausing review of government requests for user data from Hong Kong pending further assessment of national security legislation, including formal human rights due diligence and consultation with international human rights experts.”

See also: Facebook again admits to improperly giving user data to third-party developers

Twitter, as a policy, discloses requests made by governments for user data in its biennial transparency report(opens in a new tab), Facebook also publishes a list of government requests for user data in its Transparency Report.(opens in a new tab), For example, in the second half of 2019, Facebook said it produced at least some data for 74.4 percent of the 140,875 requests it received. According to that report, 0 percent of China’s requests for user data were met by Facebook during the same period.

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