Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Facebook admits its Portal device could collect user data for ad targeting

Facebook's Portal Plus.                  James Martin  CNET Facebook's Portal Plus. James Martin CNET
Stacy Diaz | 19 October, 2018, 19:25

"We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms", the spokesperson continues.

"Facebook's official statement to Recode read: "....we collect the same types of information (i.e., usage data such as length of calls, the frequency of calls) that we collect on other Messenger-enabled devices. While Portal itself is ad-free, the information it grabs can be used for ads on other services Facebook owns, if it wanted to. Aside from making video calls, the Portals can display photos and play music and videos.

Facebook has been insistent that Portal is "private by design", and the company said no data - such as call logs and app usage information - would be used to target users with ads.

Facepalm: When Facebook launched its Portal and Portal+ video calling/smart speaker devices last week, the issue of privacy was on many people's minds. The device could also eventually be a natural home for Facebook's video ads, even though it's not putting them on Portal right now.

Facebook, meanwhile, counters that Portal is built with security and privacy in mind.

With projects like both the Portal and Ripley Facebook is also trying to build a consumer-hardware business outside of its virtual reality brand which is of Oculus that was acquired by the social networking giant in the month of March 2014 for almost $2 billion.

Facebook's new Portal device, just released last week.

The Ripley name could change before the eventual launch next year, which Cheddar says is coming in Spring 2019. Essentially, Facebook is attempting to create an augmented reality experience so that users feel like they are hanging out in the same room as the individuals on the other end of the video chat.

If turned out to be true, Facebook's TV Camera is expected to come packed with a lot of features which will let the company compete with similar products ruling the market.

Tech powerhouses with software and hardware products have a distinct, and nearly unparalleled, advantage in today's competitive market - but will Facebook's users be willing to trust the tech giant enough to allow the Portal into their homes?