Facebook will reportedly no longer allow Huawei to pre-install its applications on the embattled OEM's smartphones, including any device that hasn't yet been shipped from its production facilities, according to recent reports citing an unnamed individual close to the matter. Facebook has confirmed that the move will not impact users who already own a device made by the Chinese manufacturer.
Facebook's pre-installed apps continuing to receive updates for the time being and the apps still noted as being downloadable from the Google Play Store. That restriction applies to WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook, among others and will chiefly affect devices outside of Huawei's home region where Facebook's apps are not readily available.
Huawei and Facebook have not yet released any statements on the matter and are not responding to questions at this time.
Just barely avoiding hypocrisy?
Other app developers and Huawei partners such as Twitter and Booking.com have not responded to comments either. Presumably, those apps will still be preinstalled on Huawei devices unless an extension to its short-term Temporary General License awarded by the U.S. Department of Commerce is denied.
Similarly, Google has now stepped up to defend the second-largest manufacturer utilizing its Android OS mobile platform, claiming that banning Huawei will actually pose a security risk of its own — effectively eliminating a possible security risk and enabling a known risk.
In light of that, Facebook's decision to remove its applications from Huawei phones while the temporary stay on the ban is in place could be viewed as either hypocritical or as a self-protective measure in the eventuality that things take a turn for the worse.
While Facebook has made strides to clear its own name in the face of controversies related to the personal data security and privacy of its users, it hasn't been entirely without fault on that front either. The company has repeatedly failed to uphold its own promises regarding those aspects of its business over the past couple of years.
A lot of its shortcomings have only differed from the alleged Huawei problem in that the company hasn't been accused of outright spying for a foreign government. By removing support from Huawei devices for the most widely-used social networks, Facebook may be needlessly harming the company's ability to compete over concerns that may not be entirely warranted and that are comparable to those it has faced itself.
This could backfire
Despite suddenly gaining Google's vocal support as well as recently having key certifications and supply chains reestablished, Huawei still appears to be going its own direction for now. Reports about working conditions at the company have indicated that the OEM now considers itself to be at war with the U.S. administration. As a result, it has fallen back on plans to create its own replacement solutions to maintain its position in the mobile industry.
Huawei is not entirely innocent in this ordeal either but is presently cleared to operate alongside other companies in the region.
The second largest global smartphone maker could also continue maintaining those business relationships with the U.S. companies if it follows through on conditions set in the agreement, irrespective of whether it does launch its own supply chain and OS as a contingency. That would feasibly make the company stronger in the long run
Perhaps more importantly, the company and others in its home region could utilize the ongoing battle as a means to promote homegrown social media solutions as well as those others Huawei is working on. Many of those already operate similarly to Facebook's services.
So, if Huawei is successful in maintaining its loyal following, Facebook's bid to distance itself could come back to haunt it.