Facebook Winding Down Data-Sharing Partnership With Huawei

Huawei is winding down its data-sharing partnership with Huawei following an NYT report about some 60 such initiatives still being in effect a decade after they were first established. As part of an effort run in collaboration with original equipment manufacturers, i.e. hardware makers whose products can connect to Facebook, the social media giant shared user data with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO, and TCL Communication, with some industry watchers now raising concerns about its willingness to engage in such in-depth partnerships with Chinese companies, especially Huawei given its long history of fending off security concerns in the United States.

Facebook previously said its device-integrated application programming interfaces allowing for such data-sharing practices are significantly different from APIs used by third-party developers as any information they collect can only be used for offering custom-built Facebook experiences on various devices, usually smartphones. As such, they shouldn't be able to lead to another Cambridge Analytica episode, though some security experts are now raising concerns about those partnerships nonetheless, especially as they even allow OEMs to glean data on one's Facebook friends, something not even third-party developers on the social media platform can do since 2015. The Menlo Park, California-based firm started winding down those data-sharing projects in April and will do the same to the Huawei one later this week.

Huawei remains at odds with stateside regulators and lawmakers which continue insisting the company poses a security risk due to its close ties to Beijing. ZTE, another firm from the Far Eastern country that's even majority-owned by China and previously faced similar accusations to Huawei, never entered a data-sharing agreement with Facebook, the tech giant said. A number of U.S. Senators yesterday penned an open letter to the company demanding answers over its OEM partnerships, having also asked CEO Mark Zuckerberg whether he wants to change his congressional testimony from April over the firm's privacy practices.

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