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Facebook confirms it shared data with Chinese phone makers, including Huawei

Facebook confirms it shared data with Chinese phone makers, including Huawei
[Photo: rawpixel]

After the New York Times broke the news this week that Facebook has been sharing information about users with major phone makers for over a decade, the paper then went on to discover that Facebook’s on-device data sharing program included Huawei. Huawei presents a particular issue as since 2012 the U.S. House Intelligence Committee warned American companies against dealing with Huawei due to its ties to China’s Communist Party and China’s military. As the Times reports:

The agreements, which date to at least 2010, gave private access to some user data to Huawei, a telecommunications equipment company that has been flagged by American intelligence officials as a national security threat, as well as to Lenovo, Oppo and TCL . . .

The deals were part of an effort to push more mobile users onto the social network starting in 2007, before stand-alone Facebook apps worked well on phones. The agreements allowed device makers to offer some Facebook features, such as address books, “like” buttons and status updates.

Huawei reportedly used its private access to Facebook users data to feed a “social phone” app that allowed users to view all their social media accounts and messages in one place. For its part, Facebook says it is winding down the Huawei deal by the end of the week–and that all of the data it shared with Huawei stayed on the user’s phones and were not stored on Huawei servers.

But that’s a statement Senator Mark Warner of Virginia isn’t taking at face value. “I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers,” the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee said.

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