Facebook prevents Huawei from pre-installing apps on phones

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In a major blow to those wanting to buy Huawei’s phones, Facebook has suspended the Chinese company’s ability to pre-install the social network’s apps on its smartphones.

Huawei phone users will still be able to download apps owned by Facebook – including WhatsApp and Instagram – but the Chinese firm’s devices will no longer include them out of the box.

The decision follows an effective trade ban against the company issued by US President Donald Trump last month, which has since seen Google also restrict Huawei’s access to its Android operating system.

The US restrictions against Huawei are the result of an executive order issued in May by Mr Trump, which prevents companies from countries listed as “foreign adversaries” from accessing American technology without government approval.

Google has been granted a temporary licence to support and update the Android software currently running on existing Huawei phones, although this expires in August.

Facebook confirmed it had suspended Huawei’s ability to pre-install its apps and said it was “reviewing the US Commerce Department’s final rule and the more recently issued temporary general licence and taking steps to ensure compliance”.

Huawei currently pre-loads a number of other apps on to its phones before they are shipped to customers, include those from Booking.com and Twitter.

The Chinese company declined to comment on Facebook’s decision.

Huawei has been subjected to intense scrutiny amid accusations of having close ties to the Chinese state, with some critics arguing that its telecoms equipment could be used to spy on people in the West.

The company has always strongly denied the claims, insisting it abides by the laws of each country in which it is present.

The US has also urged its allies – including the UK – not to use its equipment or face being cut off from US intelligence because of the “unacceptable risk” Huawei poses.

The UK Government is still debating whether or not to allow Huawei telecoms equipment to be used in parts of Britain’s new 5G networks.

Chris Price
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