Facebook has data-sharing partnerships with Chinese electronics companies including Huawei, a telecommunications giant that’s been flagged to the U.S. as a national security threat, the social media giant said Tuesday.
“Huawei is the third largest mobile manufacturer globally and its devices are used by people all around the world, including in the United States. Facebook along with many other US tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones,” Francisco Varela, Facebook’s VP of mobile partnerships, said in a statement.
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Facebook controlled and approved any use of Facebook data on Huawei devices “from the get go,” Varela added, and all user information stayed on the devices rather than being sent to Huawei’s servers.
Varela said Facebook had similar deals in place with China’s Lenovo, OPPO and TCL, which make a range of consumer electronics and telecom devices.
The company has said it’s winding down its data sharing partnerships. Doubts are growing in Washington over Facebook’s handling of user data after a New York Times report disclosed the partnerships with device makers, which also include Apple and Samsung.
Sen. Mark Warner, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence committee, earlier this week asked Facebook whether it had partnerships with Chinese device makers. He said in a statement today that the confirmation “raises legitimate concerns.” Warner added, “I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers.”