Facebook Home Video Chat Device Faces Privacy Backlash

Eye Looking Through A KeyholeFacebook is unquestionably the biggest social media platform in the world. However, the company wants to be so much more than that. For instance, one of the site’s plans for tech domination involves producing consumer electronics for the home, similar to the Amazon Echo. However, the device Facebook created to compete with the Echo is already raising serious privacy concerns.

During the development of the product, called Aloha, Facebook employees conducted focus groups to figure out how to market it. What they found out should not have surprised them: many people are concerned Facebook will use the device to spy on users. The Aloha features a camera that can recognize users’ faces, and requires a Facebook account to set up. That means it would link to your account—and friend list. For a device that could have video access to bedrooms and other private spaces, this understandably alarmed some in the focus groups. And that forced Facebook to get creative with how it could sell this new tech to the public.

“To assuage concerns about privacy, Facebook has considered creative ways to market Aloha, including pitching it as a device for letting the elderly easily communicate with their families,” according to Business Insider.

While it’s easy to see why Facebook wants to make inroads into consumer electronics, the company will also need to be more aware of its not-exactly-great privacy reputation.