After months of rumors, Facebook finally released its answer to the Amazon Echo this week — the Portal home device. And, predictably, the company’s announcement was met with almost universal outrage. Running through most of the responses was a common thread: why would anyone want to give Facebook access to their home when the platform is currently plagued by privacy scandals?
Indeed, Facebook couldn’t have announced their video chat device at a worse time. Just two weeks ago, the company revealed that it had been hacked and potentially revealed the data of 50 million users. So it’s understandable why the idea of Portal isn’t going over well with the privacy-concerned public. For its part, Facebook seems aware of the problem it has on its hands. In its announcement, the company went to great lengths to reassure consumers that their information is safe.
“Facebook doesn’t listen to, view, or keep the contents of your Portal video calls,” Facebook said. “Your Portal conversations stay between you and the people you’re calling. In addition, video calls on Portal are encrypted, so your calls are always secure.”
Additionally, the company said that Portal doesn’t operate or store anything on Facebook’s servers. Crucially, Facebook also said that Portal’s camera doesn’t use facial recognition technology. But still, the question remains of why anyone would want to buy this tech in the first place. Facebook already possesses enough of our information without gaining a foothold in our actual homes.