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Facebook Confirms Data-sharing Agreements with Chinese Firms

Facebook confirms data sharing partnerships with Huawei & 3 other Chinese companies

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Facebook
Facebook unveils new VR headset 'Oculus Quest'. Pixabay

Facebook has admitted sharing users’ data with Chinese company Huawei — facing the heat in the US over data privacy concerns — along with three other China-based smartphone makers Lenovo, OPPO and TCL.

According to a report in Financial Times on Tuesday, Francisco Varela, vice president of Mobile Partnerships at Facebook, said that many technology companies have worked with Huawei.

“Facebook’s integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were controlled from the get-go — and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built,” Varela said in a statement.

“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 Facebook executive added.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

The Facebook confirmation came a day after The New York Times reported that the social media giant provided access to users’ data to at least 60 different device makers — including Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung and BlackBerry.

There are concerns in the US among the FBI, CIA, NSA, the Federal Communications Commission and House Intelligence Committee over Huawei devices.

In February, FBI Director Chris Wray said the FBI was “deeply concerned” about the risks posed by Huawei and ZTE. The US military has banned phones made by Huawei and ZTE.

According to Senator Mark Warner, the Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the concerns about Huawei were not new.

“The news that Facebook provided privileged access to Facebook’s API [application programming interface] to Chinese device makers like Huawei and TCL raises legitimate concerns, and I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers,” he said in a statement late Tuesday.

“Concerns about Huawei aren’t new – they were widely publicised beginning in 2012, when the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a well-read report on the close relationships between the Chinese Communist Party and equipment makers like Huawei,” Warner added.

Facebook Confirms Data-sharing Agreements with Chinese Firms
Facebook CEO of Mark Zuckerberg (Wikimedia commons)

The Senate Commerce Committee has already sent a letter to Facebook over the reports that it shared data with device makers.

Earlier, the social network defended the pacts with device makers, saying that these partnerships do not raise privacy concerns.

Facebook said that the partners signed agreements that prevented people’s information from being used for any other purpose than to recreate Facebook-like experiences.

“Partners could not integrate the user’s Facebook features with their devices without the user’s permission,” Ime Archibong, Facebook’s Vice President of Product Partnerships, said in a statement.

Also Read: Apple Requested ‘Zero’ Personal Data In Deals With Facebook, CEO Tim Cook Says

Facebook launched the device-integrated APIs about a decade ago and said that all these partnerships were built on a common interest — the desire for people to be able to use Facebook whatever their device or operating system.

“Given that these APIs enabled other companies to recreate the Facebook experience, we controlled them tightly from the get-go,” Archibong said.

Facebook said that it had already ended 22 of the device partnerships.

“Now that iOS and Android are so popular, fewer people rely on these APIs to create bespoke Facebook experiences. It’s why we announced in April that we’re winding down access to them. We’ve already ended 22 of these partnerships,” Archibong noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Four App Startups Sue Social Media Giant Facebook For Anti-Competitive Behaviour

The documents was obtained by NBC News and international journalistic partners

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Facebook
Facebook replied to the lawsuit, saying it has no legal basis. Pixabay

Blaming Facebook of anti-competitive behaviour, four app startups have sued the social networking giant, alleging that it inappropriately revoked developer access to its platform in order to harm competitors.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Thursday, is based on more than 7,000 pages leaked last year “from an ongoing lawsuit brought by another defunct startup known as Six4Three, which made a short-lived app known as Pikinis”.

The documents was obtained by NBC News and international journalistic partners.

The documents showed that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook officials used their market position to squeeze potential rivals and competitors from 2011 through 2015.

“This action seeks to halt the most brazen, willful anticompetitive scheme in a generation — a scheme that verges on final, irreparable completion as of the date of this Complaint,” the complaint alleged in the class-action lawsuit.

“Facebook stands today as a paragon of unbridled market power”, said the lawsuit filed by The lawsuit was filed by LikeBright, Lenddol, Cir.cl Inc and Beehive Biometric Inc.

Facebook
Blaming Facebook of anti-competitive behaviour, four app startups have sued the social networking giant, alleging that it inappropriately revoked developer access to its platform in order to harm competitors. Pixabay

Facebook replied to the lawsuit, saying it has no legal basis.

ALSO READ: “I feel that I still have to do a lot of work,” Says Veteran Writer-Lyricist Javed Akhtar

“We operate in a competitive environment where people and advertisers have many choices. In the current environment, where plaintiffs’ attorneys see financial opportunities, claims like this aren’t unexpected but they are without merit,” a company spokesperson was quoted as saying. (IANS)