Just months after Real Human Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress to apologize for his company's role in losing all of your private data to Cambridge Analytica, a political firm with ties to the Trump campaign, Facebook has returned to announce their next great idea: a permanent camera and microphone that lives in your home.
Portal in action. | Facebook
Facebook Portal (and a larger model, Portal Plus) is an in-home smart display designed for video chatting, better known as the worst part of the Jetsons' vision of the future. Do you really want to get dressed for a phone call?
Sure, Facebook isn't the first one to do it. We've already got Alexa (which connects to Portal) memorizing our grocery list, creepily laughing throughout the night, and watching our every move. A face-to-face video chat exists on the Echo Show. Creating a physical video platform tied to Facebook's messenger app is presumably just the next logical step. But when more than half of Americans told Reuters that they don't trust the company with their information, maybe Facebook could have done a better job at reading the room.
How bad is Facebook's relationship with private data? Brian Acton, the co-founder of WhatsApp—the messaging service Facebook bought in 2014—walked away from the company and $850 million in March over what he believed to be Facebook's misuse of user data. (His co-founder Jan Koum left in April). Acton has since become a vocal critic, expressing regret for selling out his own user base, and urging everyone to join his #DeleteFacebook campaign.
It is time. #deletefacebook— Brian Acton (@brianacton) March 20, 2018
According to the Verge, Facebook insists that privacy has been their chief concern, and built features into the device (and left out others) that are designed to protect users. They're very aware of the reputation they have both with the public, and what they have to overcome to build user trust with Portal. It just seems that after handing over the digital keys to the Russian algorithm bots that convinced your uncle that the Clintons run a sex ring out of a pizza shop, it's hard to be anything but skeptical.
From: Esquire US