Facebook admitted it shared users’ data with Chinese smartphone manufacturers

Facebook Inc. admitted on Tuesday that it is sharing users’ data with its partnered Chinese mobile manufacturing companies. This on-device information sharing process of Facebook included at least 4 companies involving the world’s 3rd biggest phone maker, Huawei. Huawei reportedly is going under a period of scrutiny from the U.S. House Intelligence Committee since the year 2012. The committee had warned the American companies to break ties with Huawei as it had links with the military and Communist Party of China.

Facebook said that Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, Lenovo Group, OPPO, and TCL Corporation are among the top four of the sixty mobile manufacturing companies globally with which the social media shared its users’ data. Further, Facebook said that it signed mutual bonds with these companies for re-creating for their users similar experiences to that of the social media. These contracts were endeavors to propel the users of the smartphones to use Facebook too. The contracts allowed the smartphone manufacturers to provide their customers a few features of Facebook like “status updates,” “like buttons,” and “address books.”

The social media giant Facebook has said that it would end its agreements with Huawei by the cease of the current week. An official of Facebook said that the company thoroughly scrutinized the access that it offered to the mobile manufacturing companies over its users’ data. The Vice President for mobile partnerships of Facebook, Francisco Varela explained, “Facebook along with many other U.S. tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones.” He added, “Facebook’s integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO, and TCL were controlled from the get-go — and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built.” Further, Varela told, “Given the interest from Congress, we wanted to make clear that all the information from these integrations with Huawei was stored on the device, not on Huawei’s servers.”

The Vice President of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said that the fact that Facebook has provided the Chinese device manufacturing companies access to Facebook’s API brings in legitimate concerns. Further, Warner said, “I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers.”

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