In yet another controversy surrounding Facebook and its users' privacy, reports surfaced on Wednesday, saying that Facebook's smart video chat speaker "Portal" will share data about your calls and apps you use to advertisers on other platforms owned by the social media giant. According to a report in ReCode, Facebook that last week said that no data will be collected through Portal and shared for targeted advertising has now taken a U-turn.
"Portal voice calling is built on the Messenger infrastructure, so when you make a video call on Portal, we collect the same types of information (i.e. usage data such as length of calls, frequency of calls) that we collect on other Messenger-enabled devices," a company spokesperson was quoted as saying. "We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms. Other general usage data, such as aggregate usage of apps, etc., may also feed into the information that we use to serve ads," the spokesperson added.
Facebook last week unveiled a pair of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered smart video chat devices, Portal and Portal +, which are designed to connect people and feel like being in the same room. The video chat speakers come with Smart Camera and Smart Sound technology. Smart Camera stays with the action and automatically pans and zooms to keep everyone in view.
Smart Sound minimises background noise and enhances the voice of whoever is talking, no matter where they move. Portal offers hands-free voice control. You can start a video call simply by saying 'Hey Portal' and noting who you'd like to call. It also comes with Amazon Alexa built in. Facebook is also reportedly developing a camera-equipped set-top box for TVs that would support functionalities like video-calling.
In the biggest-ever security breach after Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook admitted earlier this month that hackers broke into nearly 50 million users' accounts by stealing their "access tokens" or digital keys.