Facebook says it gave Huawei and other Chinese firms access to user data

Facebook says it has provided access to its users' data to Huawei, a Chinese smartphone maker that US intelligence ag...

Posted: Jun 6, 2018 11:43 AM
Updated: Jun 6, 2018 11:43 AM

Facebook says it has provided access to its users' data to Huawei, a Chinese smartphone maker that US intelligence agencies have described as a security threat.

Facebook on Tuesday said it has been operating data-sharing partnerships with four Chinese device makers that enabled the companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their users.

The news is set to fuel further concerns about how Facebook handles people's personal information and protects their privacy. It comes after the social media company admitted earlier this week -- following an investigation by The New York Times -- that it signed data-sharing deals with dozens of phone and tablet makers over the years, including Apple and Samsung.

The agreement with Huawei is likely to draw particular scrutiny because of concerns expressed by US officials that the Chinese government can use the company's smartphones and other products for intelligence gathering -- allegations Huawei has repeatedly denied.

"Huawei is the third largest mobile manufacturer globally and its devices are used by people all around the world, including in the United States," said Francisco Varela, Facebook's vice president of mobile partnerships. "Facebook along with many other US tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones."

Related: Facebook faces new regulatory backlash over data privacy

Facebook said earlier this week that it forged partnerships with around 60 companies back when mobile phones were less powerful and app stores did not yet exist. The social media company said it gave device makers access to software only so they could build versions of Facebook that worked on different phones or operating systems.

Facebook announced in April it was winding down the partnerships. It said Tuesday that it has ended more than half of them and that the Huawei one will shut down this week.

The other three Chinese companies that signed data-sharing deals with Facebook are Lenovo, Oppo and TCL, which owns the rights to the Alcatel and Blackberry smartphone brands.

"Facebook's integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL were controlled from the get go - and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built," Varela said.

He added that "all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei's servers."

Facebook's social network has been blocked by Chinese censors for years. But the company has long shown an interest in finding ways into the country, with CEO Mark Zuckerberg working to build relationships with Chinese leaders.

Facebook's partnerships with the Chinese firms were first reported by The New York Times. None of the four companies immediately responded to requests for comment.

Related: Pentagon says stores on US bases should stop selling Huawei and ZTE phones

One of China's biggest and most prominent tech companies, Huawei has faced suspicions from the US government for years. As well as selling smartphones, it builds telecom networks in countries across Asia, Europe and Latin America.

But its networks business has largely been shut out from selling equipment to American operators after Congress issued a critical report in 2012. Lawmakers suggested that equipment from Huawei and ZTE, another Chinese tech company, could pose a threat to national security. The companies strongly disputed the allegations.

Huawei has suffered a series of setbacks in the United States this year.

In January, an effort to get AT&T to sell its smartphones collapsed at the last minute. Then in February, top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency said at a Senate hearing that they would recommend against American citizens using products made by Huawei and ZTE.

The Pentagon has also ordered stores on US military bases to stop selling Huawei and ZTE phones.

Huawei has repeatedly defended itself, saying its products are sold in 170 countries and "meet the highest standards of security, privacy and engineering in every country," including the United States.

-- Nanlin Fang contributed to this report.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115088

Reported Deaths: 3255
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7973177
DeSoto703979
Harrison522384
Jackson457884
Rankin394086
Madison383194
Lee357380
Forrest304678
Jones292484
Washington258399
Lafayette250443
Lauderdale2478135
Lamar225538
Oktibbeha202454
Bolivar201677
Neshoba1849111
Lowndes179962
Panola170040
Leflore167187
Sunflower162349
Warren154855
Monroe150673
Pontotoc147220
Marshall143129
Lincoln140157
Pike138456
Copiah137536
Scott125429
Coahoma124937
Grenada122638
Yazoo122234
Simpson121549
Union118825
Tate116839
Leake115041
Holmes114760
Itawamba113925
Pearl River113660
Adams108544
Prentiss106120
Wayne101722
Alcorn100112
George99218
Covington97527
Marion95042
Tippah90322
Newton86627
Chickasaw85526
Tallahatchie84526
Winston84121
Hancock84028
Tishomingo81241
Attala79426
Clarke75851
Clay69321
Jasper68717
Walthall63927
Calhoun62612
Noxubee59817
Smith59416
Montgomery54923
Yalobusha54514
Claiborne53716
Tunica53517
Lawrence51814
Perry49423
Carroll49312
Greene47818
Stone47514
Humphreys43816
Amite42513
Quitman4206
Jefferson Davis41011
Webster37613
Benton3416
Wilkinson33820
Kemper32615
Sharkey28514
Jefferson27610
Franklin2423
Choctaw2086
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 155915

Reported Deaths: 2674
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23129377
Mobile16849315
Tuscaloosa10296140
Montgomery10197197
Madison928096
Shelby733863
Baldwin663769
Lee653465
Calhoun456761
Marshall438150
Etowah426551
Houston414834
Morgan412035
DeKalb338829
Elmore320053
St. Clair292542
Limestone284230
Walker277292
Talladega265335
Cullman244024
Lauderdale226242
Jackson214915
Franklin205231
Autauga204831
Colbert200532
Russell19443
Blount192525
Chilton186932
Dallas186527
Coffee176311
Dale175151
Covington174029
Escambia172530
Chambers135044
Clarke134317
Pike133513
Tallapoosa131787
Marion107629
Barbour10319
Marengo100822
Butler100740
Winston92213
Geneva9007
Lawrence85032
Pickens84718
Bibb82814
Randolph82316
Hale76730
Washington74412
Clay74112
Cherokee73314
Lowndes70928
Henry7086
Bullock64817
Monroe64610
Crenshaw60630
Perry5896
Fayette57413
Wilcox56712
Conecuh56113
Cleburne5568
Macon53420
Lamar4905
Sumter47221
Choctaw39012
Greene34216
Coosa2033
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