Facebook Shared User Data with Chinese (and American) Tech Companies

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In collaboration with NordVPN


How many times can people discuss the same companies and concepts? Many times, as long as the narrative and the context is different.

by Eugene Michaels

We are back at talking about data sharing, the US, China, Facebook, and Huawei. All the old subjects in this never-ending friction between countries, security, and corporations.

The latest news is that Facebook made deals with around 60 phone manufacturing companies to develop Facebook-type services for their native operating systems. The arrangements began back in 2007, and some of those companies are Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo, and TCL. Of course, Apple and Amazon, among other major American companies, were on the list, but the media focus is on the Chinese. Because if you share user data with third-parties, they better be local, right?

The Chinese companies, especially Huawei, have come under the most scrutiny from the American intelligence services, which have warned the public against using Huawei phones for posing possible security threats. Therefore, the news about Facebook sharing user data (such as religion, political ideology, relationship status, friend contacts) is only increasing the distrust in both the Chinese-made devices and Facebook.

Facebook made responses about this instance claiming that they cut deals with these phone manufacturers back when app stores did not exist, and each manufacturer had to develop applications individually. For that reason, Facebook shared the information to build the best possible Facebook-type services on the smartphones. Furthermore, Facebook reports that the collected data only remained on the phones and not the company servers. Nonetheless, Facebook did not obtain any explicit consent from their users about the information sharing. This situation is especially concerning, as they made deals back in 2007 and canceled only in the past weeks and days. That is a long time, during which technology and data collection have come a long way.

Huawei has also commented on the situation, confirming that they never kept any of the user information on their servers. They only wanted to develop an enjoyable and efficient Facebook application on the phones. Therefore, the user data should not have been accessible to the Chinese authorities, with whom Huawei has quite close links, as the CEO Ren Zhengfeng is an ex-People’s Liberation Army officer. For now, we can only take the Huawei’s word as truth.

Many have also questioned the relationship Facebook tries to maintain with China and their tech companies, despite Facebook and many other social media platforms being completely blocked in the Mainland China. Nonetheless, these deals were more intended for allowing Huawei and other phone manufacturers to produce phones and applications that could be used in the US, Europe, and other regions, not only China. Furthermore, some of the data could be used to develop native software that would include Facebook functions, such as messaging or posting photos.

All in all, after reading quite a few articles on the topic, it seems that Facebook had good intentions of helping out the phone manufacturers, but sharing private user data without their consent is never an acceptable option. The main problem is that in such a situation, the users have no other solutions, except for not using these services, or not sharing their information on the social media. Everywhere else, leave the online privacy and security to NordVPN, we shall make sure that your digital communications and data are anonymous and untraceable.

Topic: facebook in China, facebook user data chinese companies,user data in China,VPN services in China

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