Facebook has confirmed it has a data-sharing partnership with Chinese firms including Huawei, a company US intelligence previously flagged as a security threat.
The agreements gave the Chinese firms some access to users’ data to help them build Facebook “experiences” on their smartphones. Facebook said all the data collected remained on users’ phones not servers.
A Huawei spokesperson said: “Like all leading smartphone providers, Huawei has worked with Facebook to make Facebook’s services more convenient for users.
Facebook is already under scrutiny over how it uses members’ information. It has been blocked in China since 2009 but the company has been trying to find other ways to access the massive potential market.
Senator Mark Warner, who sits on the US Senate Intelligence Committee, said news that Huawei was among the companies getting the privileged access to the Facebook data raised “legitimate concerns”.
Facebook responded by saying it “along with many other US tech companies have worked with them [Huawei] and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones”.
Francisco Varela, vice-president of mobile partnerships for Facebook, said the integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were “controlled from the get go” and that “we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built”.