(Yicai Global) June 7 -- Huawei Technologies cooperated with Facebook to develop services but never collected or stored user data, the world's third-biggest smartphone maker told state-backed news site The Paper amid a data-protection scandal sending shockwaves across the globe.
In the face of intense government and public scrutiny, Facebook executive Francisco Verala admitted on June 5 that the Californian social media giant shared user data with four Chinese partners: Huawei, Lenovo Group, Oppo Electronics and TCL. The partnerships are still in place, the firm told the New York Times the same day, but it plans to axe the Huawei agreement by the end of this week.
The NYT earlier reported that since 2007, Facebook had shared comprehensive data on users and their friends with at least 60 communications device makers, including Apple, Amazon, Blackberry, Samsung and the Chinese firms, without consent.
Huawei and fellow Shenzhen-based telecoms giant ZTE have been labeled as threats to American national security for years, though scrutiny has amplified since United States President Donald Trump took office and tensions between the two nations have risen closer and closer to boiling point. As a result, the Pentagon last month banned sales of Huawei and ZTE phones on American military bases.
Facebook has defended the agreements by saying the firm "controlled" the data and that it did not find its way into the hands of the Chinese government.
"We approved the Facebook experiences these companies built," Verala said. "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 Federal Trade Commission is already investigating whether or not Facebook has violated a consent decree it signed in 2011, which prevented the firm form sharing data with third parties without user consent, NBC News reported, citing Lindsey Barrett, staff attorney at Georgetown University Law Center's Institute of Public Representation.
The company's privacy protection also came into question when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, the British firm behind Trump's presidency campaign, used apps on the platform to harvest data on American users.
Editor: James Boynton