Facebook has withdrawn from the HKA project to build a submarine cable between California, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

The move follows similar changes to other cables hyperscalers had planned to help connect the East and West, including the Pacific Light Cable Network and the Bay-to-Bay Express system.

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Facebook and the NSA don't want any more traffic surveillance

Mark Zuckerberg
– Alessio Jacona

“Due to ongoing concerns from the US government about direct communications links between the United States and Hong Kong, we have decided to withdraw our FCC application,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement about the planned HKA cable.

“We look forward to working with all the parties to reconfigure the system to meet the concerns of the US government.”

Last year, the Facebook and Alphabet-backed Pacific Light Cable Network was delayed after a national security panel led by the Justice Department held up final approval. The cable, which is already in place, is being redesigned to potentially land somewhere else in Asia.

In 2020, Facebook and Amazon also withdrew their application to build the Bay-to-Bay Express system, which was expected to link the US with Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong.

The increased scrutiny over cables to Hong Kong comes as the Chinese government steadily erodes the region's autonomy, and enacts increasingly restrictive surveillance and data laws.