Technology 3 min read

Facebook Admits Data-Sharing With Chinese Device Manufacturers

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achinthamb /

Facebook is again facing more scrutiny after it was revealed that the company entered into a data-sharing agreement with four prominent Chinese device manufacturers.

According to reports, Facebook allegedly has a data-sharing agreement with four of China’s largest device manufacturers. The four Chinese companies include Huawei Technologies, Lenovo, OPPO, and TCL. This new issue raises concerns about Facebook’s failed efforts to let its users know how their personal information is being used beyond the social media platform.

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

The company’s disclosure came after the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Senator Mark Warner said Tuesday that the social network’s sharing of user information with Chinese device makers could be a ‘serious’ danger. However, Facebook firmly said that it was careful about its alleged partnership with the device makers.

A report from The New York Times over the weekend claimed that Facebook had entered into deals with around 60 phone and device manufacturers over the past several years. This gave the partner companies access to a massive chunk of information about Facebook users and their friends. As of writing, it is still not known whether the shared data are being used by the device manufacturers personally or are being transferred to unauthorized third parties.

This new data trust issue comes just a few months after the Cambridge Analytica scandal which landed Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, in front of lawmakers for questioning. It should be noted that only last March, it was revealed that around 87 million Facebook user accounts had been compromised.

Since then, Zuckerberg and his company has made several changes to its data security policies and updated it’s application to give users more power over their information and how they want it to be shared.

However, confirming the data-sharing agreement has only raised more questions among the U.S. lawmakers about how Facebook is handling the usage and storage of its user data.

“The news that Facebook provided privileged access to Facebook’s API to Chinese device makers like Huawei and TCL raises legitimate concerns. I look forward to learning more about how Facebook ensured that information about their users was not sent to Chinese servers,” Senator Warner was quoted as saying.

With all the data security concerns being faced by Facebook, are you still using its social media platform? Why or why not?

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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  1. Cat K June 13 at 5:05 am GMT

    I stopped using it years ago when the first candidate/employer questions began to arise, with reports that some job seekers were being required to provide their potential employers access to their account if they wanted to be considered. As a recruiter at the time I was appalled and sided with the candidate who’s rights were being violated by immoral and illegal, not to mention discriminatory, hiring managers. Granted this was contained quickly, at least as a “requirement” and I return to that term because just like FB sharing our informantion without our knowledge and permission, I’m quite sure, and again this is not being done by everyone. But a bad apple 🍏 rarely ever turns sweet, and so with that in mind, I decided then that they would still be checking on potential candidates pages without them being privy to it. But thankfully, we have privacy settings on our accounts to protect our most personal posts. Oh. No. Wait. That’s right. FB switched it to public for us! And now they have data sharing contracts with Chinese device manufacturers? I don’t think I was ever asked if I was okay with that!
    I felt like I saw this clown selling his soul to the almighty dollar eventually. I never thought he was trustworthy. Look at the foundation fb was formed on! It’s been a game with him from the beginning. So to answer your question, I still have my account but I don’t post on it. I likely never will. I personally switched over to Vero. (They don’t have and never will have, advertising so there’s no incentive for our data to be sold. And it’s free from page after page of family vacations or cute babies. The pictures are actually rarely the type seen on fb. And lastly, so far, I haven’t seen one negative or nasty word posted to anyone for reason.)

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