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Huawei says Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp still work on its phones

The Huawei logo at CES 2019.

Huawei, looking to assure customers, tells Android Authority Facebook’s mobile applications continue to be available to its mobile devices. This includes the Facebook application itself, as well as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

The company wants to set the record straight in the wake of the U.S. Commerce Department’s recent ban, which prevents U.S. firms from doing business with Huawei. The timeline of events and fast pace of headlines may have lead to some confusion for consumers.

A quickly-evolving story

The Trump Administration added Huawei to the Commerce Department’s Entity List on May 15. The move effectively blacklisted the company. U.S. firms were quick to react, and many halted business dealings with Huawei right away. Facebook was one of such company, and early on May 20 said it would cease preinstalling its mobile apps on Huawei’s devices.

However, on May 21 the Trump Administration granted Huawei and its partners a 90-day reprieve in the form of a temporary license. The order gives Huawei time to make alternate arrangements should the ban go back into full effect come August 19.

Huawei: This has no impact on existing devices.

Since then, Huawei says it has fielded support queries from customers asking about the status of Facebook on its mobile devices.

Facebook has indeed put a pause on installing its apps on future Huawei phones. “We are reviewing the Commerce Department’s final rule and the more recently issued temporary general license and [are] taking steps to ensure compliance,” said the company in a statement provided to media. This does not pertain to phones already in the market.

Consumers who have purchased Huawei or Honor devices can continue to use Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp normally. All devices that were shipped from the company to retailers prior to the May 16 order will also have access to Facebook’s mobile apps.

Also read: Should you buy a Huawei phone right now?

Moreover, the mobile apps are still available to Huawei and Honor devices via the Google Play Store. Should a consumer receive a Huawei phone that does not include Facebook’s mobile apps preinstalled, nothing is preventing him or her from directly downloading the apps.

Huawei’s goal “is to ensure consumers know that this has no impact on existing devices, and future devices will still be able to download, install, and use Facebook apps without any issue on Huawei devices,” said the company in a statement provided to Android Authority.

The end is still unwritten

Huawei is not out of the woods yet. The Commerce Department’s threat still hangs darkly over its head like a thundercloud. It doesn’t help that the administration has conflated Huawei’s previous security issues with its ongoing trade dispute with China.

Should the Trump Administration put Huawei back on the Entity List, its business would face dire and immediate consequences. The full extent of which aren’t fully known, but could include loss of access to components from suppliers such as ARM and software — including Android itself — from Google.

Since the kerfuffle surfaced, Huawei’s telecom business has won 5G contracts with carriers in other countries. The company is believed to be working on an Android alternate called Oak OS, and has begun asking developers to publish apps inside the Huawei AppGallery.

You can follow a full timeline of the story as it continues to unfold here.

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