In yet another blow to Huawei as it struggles to deal with a US ban, Facebook is distancing itself from the ostracized smartphone maker by no longer allowing its apps to be preinstalled on the company's handsets. That includes not just Facebook, but also WhatsApp and Instagram, both of which the social media giant owns.
US intelligence agencies have long warned that Huawei could be linked to spying on behalf of China. More recently, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) made the claim that Huawei is directly funded by the Chinese government, and the National Defense Authorization Act subsequently banned US government agencies from using products from Huawei (and also ZTE).
Things have only gone downhill for Huawei since then. There is a ban in place that prohibits US companies from selling to Huawei without a government-issued license, and several firms have subsequently severed ties with the company. ARM, for example, recently sent a memo to employees instructing them to halt "all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements," while Microsoft kicked all of Huawei's laptops out of its online store.
Facebook is the latest US firm to turn its back on Huawei. It's not clear exactly when Facebook made the decision, but according to Reuters, any new phone leaving Huawei's factory is not allowed to have any of its apps preinstalled.
Anyone who owns a Huawei phone can still manually download and install Facebook's apps, but whatever revenue Huawei might have been generating from Facebook for preinstalling those apps is now presumably gone, or at least put on hold.
That is only the tip of the iceberg, though. Google had recently yanked its Android license from Huawei in the wake of the US ban, and while Huawei was able to procure a 90-day extension, that expires on August 19. Barring another extension, any new phones from Huawei after that point will not have access to Google's Play Store or come with apps like Gmail and YouTube preinstalled.