Facebook says it gave Huawei and other Chinese firms access to data

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(CNN Money) — Facebook says it has a deal to share user data with Huawei, a Chinese smartphone maker that U.S. intelligence agencies have described as a security threat.

Facebook on Tuesday said it had data-sharing partnerships with four Chinese device makers that enabled the companies to recreate Facebook-like experiences for their users.

The news comes after the social media company admitted earlier this week, following an investigation by The New York Times, that it signed data-sharing deals with dozens of phone and tablet makers over the years, including Apple and Samsung.

The agreement with Huawei is likely to draw particular scrutiny because of concerns expressed by US officials that the Chinese government can use the company's smartphones and other products for intelligence gathering -- allegations Huawei has repeatedly denied.

"Huawei is the third largest mobile manufacturer globally and its devices are used by people all around the world, including in the United States," said Francisco Varela, Facebook's vice president of mobile partnerships. "Facebook along with many other U.S. tech companies have worked with them and other Chinese manufacturers to integrate their services onto these phones."

Related: Facebook faces new regulatory backlash over data privacy

Facebook said earlier this week that it forged partnerships with around 60 companies back when mobile phones were less powerful and app stores did not yet exist. The social media company said it gave device makers access to software only so they could build versions of Facebook that worked on different phones or operating systems.

Facebook announced in April it was winding down the partnerships. It said Tuesday that it has ended more than half of them and that the Huawei one will shut down this week.

The other three Chinese companies that signed data-sharing deals with Facebook are Lenovo, OPPO and TCL.

"Facebook's integrations with Huawei, Lenovo, OPPO and TCL were controlled from the get go — and we approved the Facebook experiences these companies built," Varela said.

The company's partnerships with the Chinese firms was first reported by The New York Times.

Huawei didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Facebook says it gave Huawei and other Chinese firms access to user data."