Facebook and its messaging service WhatsApp said they are suspending requests from the Hong Kong government and law enforcement authorities for information on users. The pause will take place "pending further assessment" of a new national security law imposed on Hong Kong by China, and would include "formal human rights due diligence and consultations with human rights experts", a Facebook company spokesman said in a statement.
China last week enacted the sweeping security law for the restive city of around 7.5 million people, banning acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
"We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions," news agency AFP reported quoting the spokesman as saying.
The legislation, which has sent a wave of fear through the territory, has criminalised dissenting opinions such as calls for independence or autonomy.
Digital rights group ProPrivacy called Facebook's move "a win for both digital privacy and human rights in the region."