Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica data scandal caught the world’s attention recently, but now a new report is claiming the company’s data-sharing practices likely extended to certain Chinese firms, too. The social media behemoth revealed on Tuesday that at least four major Chinese companies, including enormous smartphone maker Huawei, had access to user data. U.S. intelligence services have security concerns regarding certain Chinese tech companies, including Huawei.
While Facebook claimed that all of the data that was collected remained on user devices, rather than being stored on servers, security worries about companies like Huawei have many worried shady data practices may have taken place. The Wall Street Journal has reported about the growing global concerns surrounding Huawei, the world’s third-largest smartphone maker, and U.S. officials who have recently grilled Facebook are now likely to take renewed interest in the issue.
According to the New York Times, Facebook shared data with at least 60 companies, some of which are based in China and have been explicitly flagged by U.S. intelligence services. Some of the agreements have existed for years, with certain agreements existing since at least 2010. Currently, the four partnerships are still in effect.
American tech companies also had access to significant amounts of user data; such companies as Apple and Microsoft were also recently unveiled by Facebook as having had access to user data to help craft “Facebook experiences” on their respective devices and programs. The newly unveiled sharing of data with Chinese companies closely linked to the Chinese government has sparked renewed concerns about what exactly was collected, particularly as Chinese telecommunications services continue to fall under the iron sights of U.S. intelligence agencies.
The Pentagon has recently taken a stab at Chinese tech companies, for instance, in an effort to crack down on espionage efforts that government officials claim are harmful to U.S. private sector companies and national security interest. According to Axios, a defense department spokesperson announced that many stores serving U.S. government personnel would no longer carry devices or services offered by certain Chinese tech companies.
While Facebook’s stock valuation took a hit during the original reports illustrating how the company was using user’s data, the company has since recovered. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified on Capitol Hill to congressional representatives, and the company is still investigating the extent to which data was shared inappropriately with partner companies.