Facebook to end partnership with China's Huawei

Facebook says it will cut off its data partnership with Huawei by the end of this week following a backlash over the Chinese phone maker's access to Facebook user data.

Huawei, a company flagged by U.S. intelligence officials as a national security threat, is the latest device maker at the center of a fresh wave of allegations over Facebook's handling of private data. 

Facebook said earlier this week that Chinese firms Huawei, Lenovo, Oppo and TCL were among numerous handset makers that were given access to Facebook data in a "controlled" way approved by the social media giant. 

The issue adds to the data privacy questions surrounding Facebook, which in March was found to have shared personal information from tens of millions of its users with a researcher, who then gave it to data company Cambridge Analytica. Facebook's business model is built on selling ads to companies that want to target Facebook users by demographics, such as location or age, but critics say the company has at times failed to have adequate safeguards to protect consumer privacy. 

Huawei said Wednesday it has never collected or stored Facebook user data. Huawei spokesman Joe Kelly said in a text message that the arrangement was about making Facebook services more convenient for users.

Australia's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says he would welcome Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg testifying to an Australian parliamentary committee on the social media giant's sharing of data with Chinese phone maker Huawei.

Leaders of Australia's Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security on Thursday raised the prospect of the 34-year-old being invited to explain Facebook's relationship with Huawei.

"Of course, we'd love to see the boss," Turnbull said, according to Australia's The Age

Huawei, a company flagged by U.S. intelligence officials as a national security threat, says it has never collected or stored Facebook user data, after Facebook acknowledged it shared such data with Huawei and other manufacturers.

It's the latest privacy gaffe for Facebook since allegations emerged in March that a Trump-affiliated political consultancy firm, Cambridge Analytica, had improperly harvested data of Facebook users in an effort to influence elections.