Huawei to be cut off from Facebook in latest blow


Sun, Jun 09, 2019 - Page 1

Facebook Inc on Friday said it would cut off Huawei Technologies Co (華為) from its popular social networking apps to comply with US sanctions, further isolating the Chinese tech giant considered a national security threat by Washington.

The social media giant said it took the step after US President Donald Trump’s order barring Huawei from US technology exports over concerns that it works with Chinese intelligence.

“We are reviewing the [US Department of Commerce’s] final rule and the more recently issued temporary general license and taking steps to ensure compliance,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

The California-based company said people with existing Huawei smartphones with Facebook apps would continue to be able to use and download app updates provided by Facebook.

The move by Facebook is the latest to isolate Huawei, which had become the world’s second-largest smartphone vendor, despite security concerns voiced in Washington.

Alphabet Inc’s Google last month said it would cut ties to Huawei, making it harder to obtain major apps from the US giant.

The Google decision would leave Huawei without the Play Store, the marketplace for most Android apps, and other elements of the mobile operating system.

Facebook — which is banned in China, but has more than 2 billion users worldwide — said its decision would affect its core social network, as well as applications such as Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp, which each have at least 1 billion users.

The US sanctions were imposed on May 15, but the administration allowed a 90-day compliance period that gives users of Huawei devices time to install updates and avoid a major disruption of the mobile economy.

Huawei has said that it would create its own operating system to replace the Google Android platform, but would need to develop its own app marketplace as well if it wants to retain users outside China.

To keep up in the smartphone market, Huawei would also need to find a new supply of chips and related hardware, without US suppliers such as Intel Corp, Qualcomm Inc and Broadcom Inc.