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Bad Optics: Huawei Phones Suddenly Showing Ads

Huawei phone owners are complaining about a new quirk they've discovered on their handsets' lock screens.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Several Huawei phone owners have taken to Twitter to complain about ads popping up on their lock screens. According to Android Police, which earlier reported on the issue, most of the ads appear to be from online traveling site People using a host of different models are affected, including those on the Huawei P30 Pro, P20, P20 Lite, Honor 10, and P20 Pro.

Interestingly, it doesn't appear to be a problem if you're using your own lock screen. Instead, it only appears to be in the mix of pre-installed backgrounds that come with the Huawei phone.

So, what is going on? It's tough to say. But Engadget reached out to Huawei to find out. The company said that it was looking into the matter and would provide more insight into what's happening when it finds out.

MORE: Huawei's Next Laptop Killed by US Ban

But if nothing else, it's bad timing for Huawei. The company has been facing intense pressure from the U.S. government over concerns that it could be working with the Chinese government to potentially spy on Americans. And although Huawei flatly denied those claims, it still has had its phones banned from the U.S. and U.S. companies have been ordered to stop doing business with Huawei, including Google (Android).

Exactly how the ad has popped up on the phones is unclear. It's possible that it was a simple mistake that caused it or that the company is trying to generate some cash from the ads. Of course, with the subsequent outcry that's resulted from that, the chances of the ads sticking around are probably slim, to say the least.

For now, then, if you're seeing the ads and want to turn them off, you can simply change your background to one of your own images. If Huawei decides to remove the offending ad, you'll likely see it disappear in short order.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.