Facebook Confirms Data Sharing Partnership With Chinese Companies

The social giant Facebook confirmed that it has a data-sharing partnership with several Chinese companies.

The social media company said that Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL Corp were among about 60 companies worldwide that received access to some user data. The agreement said that those companies wanted to recreate a Facebook-like "experiences" on their smartphones.

Huawei said that the partnership was meant to improve its user experience, saying that: "Like all leading smartphone providers, Huawei has worked with Facebook to make Facebook's services more convenient for users. Huawei has never collected or stored any Facebook user data," said the company spokesperson.

It all started out when The New York Times reported that Facebook users' friends could have been accessed without their explicit consent. Members of Congress raised their concerns, but Facebook denied that. The company stated that the data access was only to allow users to access account features on mobile devices.

Facebook denied some early claims, and said that all the data collected remained on users' phones not servers.

And considering the partnership, Facebook said that many of them have already been wound down.

Adding that Facebook is ending its Huawei agreement later in the week, it's also ending the other three partnerships with Chinese companies as well.

Mark Zuckerberg apology newspaper
Mark Zuckerberg has apologized in full-page newspaper ads in several UK and U.S. newspapers

Facebook is the largest social media network, and most notable for collecting more information that almost anything else on the web besides Google that can only par it. Facebook is also under scrutiny over how it uses its users' information, especially after the Cambridge Analytics scandal that left millions of user data exposed to third-parties.

Facebook has also been blocked in China since 2009, but still it has been lobbying its ways to access the nation's massive potential market.

But in terms of Facebook in sharing user data with Chinese companies, Facebook rejected the claims that the partnership is a breach of privacy pledges that it had made to its members and a U.S. regulator.

Facebook said that the company "along with many other U.S. tech companies have worked with them [Huawei] and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones."

"Facebook along with many other U.S. tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones," said Francisco Varela, VP of mobile partnerships for Facebook. "Facebook’s integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were controlled from the get-go — and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built."

Other companies that aren't Chinese, included Royal Bank of Canada and Nissan.