Facebook announced on Tuesday that it has data-partnership agreements with at least four Chinese electronics companies, including Huawei, a telecommunications equipment company U.S. intelligence officials have flagged as a national security threat.
In addition to Huawei, the companies Lenovo, Oppo, and TCL have private access to Facebook user data like work and education history, relationship status, and likes. Facebook wanted to get more people to use the social network in 2007 before its app worked well on phones, and made agreements with these Chinese device makers so they could offer select Facebook features, like status updates, on their phones. Facebook has been banned in China since 2009, but the company has been working hard to re-establish its presence in the country.
Facebook told The New York Times it is ending its partnership with Huawei by the end of the week, and said the data was never on Huawei's servers. Lawmakers have told Facebook they want more details on the agreements. "I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers," Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) said. Catherine Garcia