Earlier this week, the news of Facebook giving data access to device makers came to light. It turns out, not only Apple, Amazon, and Blackberry were okayed by the social media company to access data, but four other Chinese firms too.
In Apple’s defense, CEO Tim Cook claimed that company has requested or received “zero” personal data that was mentioned in the NY Times report. What Apple did is it added the ability to share stuff like photos, he told NPR in an interview.
Facebook has admitted to data-sharing partnerships with at least four Chinese electronics companies including Huawei, which is under the scanner for having close ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has also been flagged as a national security risk by the US intelligence officials.
The other Chinese hardware manufacturers – Lenovo Group, OPPO and TCL Corp, are among the 60 companies worldwide that received access to user data after they signed partnership contracts to create a better Facebook experience for users on their devices.
These agreements date back to the year 2010 and are still in effect. However, Facebook officials have announced in an interview that the company would wind down the deal with Huawei by the end of this week. It will soon end the other three partnerships with Chinese firms as well.
Facebook officials have also confirmed that the Chinese companies were given similar access that was given to BlackBerry, meaning it had access to detailed information on both device users and their friends. It included their religious and political views, relationship status, work and education history.
Facebook has claimed that the data shared with Huawei remained stored on phones and not the company’s servers. But the Intelligence Committee, which doesn’t seem too convinced, plans to investigate whether “Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers.”
Source: NY Times