Facebook has confirmed its data-sharing partnership with several Chinese firms including Huawei (opens in new tab) which has been previously flagged by US intelligence agencies as a security threat.
The agreements between the social network and Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL provided the Chinese firms with access to users' data in an effort to allow them to build experiences similar to Facebook on their own platforms.
Facebook, which is already under a great deal of scrutiny over how it handles user data on its own platform (opens in new tab), said that all of the data collected by the Chinese companies in question remained on users' smartphones and not on their servers.
The New York Times was the first to break the story in which it revealed that Facebook had given up to 60 device-makers access to users' data as well as to their friends on the platform without obtaining explicit consent. To make matters worse, in some cases these details were stored on the firms' own servers and not just on the devices themselves.
Facebook responded to these allegations by saying that other US tech companies had entered into similar agreements with Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services on to Chinese smartphones. Vice-president of mobile partnerships at Facebook, Francisco Varela explained that the integrations with Chinese firms were controlled from the start and the Facebook experiences built by the manufacturers had been approved by the company.
Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal (opens in new tab), news of a data-sharing deal with Chinese device manufacturers is the last thing Facebook could want if the social network hopes to regain the trust of its users.
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