MOUNTAIN VIEW, California, Alphabet's YouTube on Tuesday said it would comply with a court decision and block access inside Hong Kong to 32 video links deemed prohibited content.

The action follows a government application granted by Hong Kong's Court of Appeal requesting the ban of a protest anthem called "Glory to Hong Kong." The judges warned that dissidents seeking to incite secession could weaponize the song for use against the state.

In comments criticizing the court order, YouTube said the ruling would raise skepticism around the Hong Kong government's work to foster the digital economy and reclaim its reputation as a predictable place for doing business.

"We are disappointed by the Court's decision but are complying with its removal order," YouTube said in a statement. "We'll continue to consider our options for an appeal, to promote access to information."

The Hong Kong government did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The action is not a worldwide first for the U.S. technology sector or Google parent Alphabet, which has restricted items when legally required to do so. In China, it has removed content.

A spokesperson for YouTube, part of Mountain View-based Alphabet, said the geoblocking of videos would take effect immediately for viewers in Hong Kong.

Eventually, links to the videos will no longer show up on Google Search in Hong Kong as the company's systems process the changes, YouTube said.

Hong Kong does not have an official anthem. "Glory to Hong Kong" was written in 2019 during widespread pro-democracy protests that year, becoming an unofficial alternative anthem to China's "March of the Volunteers."

The court ruling targeted, among others, those who broadcast or distribute the song with the goal of inciting secession, or those who suggest Hong Kong is an independent state. The former British colony came back to Chinese rule in 1997 with a guarantee that its freedoms would be preserved under a "one country, two systems" formula.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman has said that stopping the song's spread was necessary for Hong Kong to safeguard national security.

YouTube said it shared human rights groups' concerns that the content ban could chill free expression online.