Facebook ‘Ripley’ could turn your TV into a huge Portal

Focus groups for the company’s Portal device expressed overwhelming concern about privacy

However, the social media giant is walking back the original remarks of its executives, clarifying that data collected by Portal devices may, in fact, inform ad targeting on various Facebook platforms.

This month, Facebook announced its entry into the smart speaker/camera market, the video conferencing tool Portal. The company also admitted that other general usage data, such as how the users utilize their apps and much more other information could aid in the methods that the company uses to serve or present ads.

Portal, on the other hand, features voice control integration and has a screen of its own.

Last October 8, Facebook said none of the data collected through Portal use, such as app usage data or call log data, would be used to target users with ads on Facebook.

Facebook last week unveiled a pair of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered smart video chat devices, Portal and Portal +, which are created to connect people and feel like being in the same room.

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.

Following Cambridge Analytica and several site hacks, people have been understandably concerned about placing a Facebook product containing a camera and microphone in their home. Further, no data will be mined from conversations, and targeted ads will not be tailored based on any information shared in private calls.

Pat Walshe of Privacy Matters claimed that Portal could be compared to Dracula given the responsibility of manning the blood bank. The box would also give users access to Facebook's YouTube competitor and other entertainment options.

In addition, Facebook is said to be building a camera-equipped device that viewers attach to their TVs.

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?

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