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Facebook is abandoning efforts to build an undersea data cable to Hong Kong

San Francisco: Facebook decided to halt its efforts to build a submarine cable across the Pacific that would have connected California and Hong Kong, due to tensions between the United States and China.

A Facebook spokesperson told AFP on Wednesday, referring to the Federal Communications Commission, “due to persistent concerns from the US government about direct contact links between the United States and Hong Kong, we have decided to withdraw our FCC request.”

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

The social networking giant and several telecom companies filed their first building permits in 2018, connecting two locations in California with Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The project was supposed to facilitate communications through optical fibers capable of carrying large amounts of data with very low wait times.

But Washington resisted due to potential national security risks regarding China, which has tightened its grip on Hong Kong.

In June, the US Department of Justice recommended that a submarine cable across the Pacific proposed by Google and Facebook bypass Hong Kong.

The cable, called Pacific Light Cable Network, was originally intended to connect the United States, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

The ministry said the landing station in Hong Kong would “display US traffic for collection” by Beijing.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted Google permission in April 2020 to operate the North America-Taiwan link.

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