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Facebook vows not to spy as the social giant introduces video chat portal

This will be the first electronic device launched by Facebook ever.

Facebook has recently unveiled its first hardware device for the users. The social giant’s recent product: Portal, is said to be a combination of Alexa and with a counter-top video chat screen that makes the video call and chats possible.

Facebook is poised to foster human relationships, and a zooming video chat device will further encourage reaching out to family and friends. However, Facebook’s recent product comes at the time when it has received lots of criticism concerning breaching users’ privacy. More than 80 million people were affected concerning the Cambridge Analytica saga that occurred during the 2016 United States presidential election.

Facebook Spy
The device comes with ‘no spy’ promise and in two sizes.

According to Facebook, Portal device is being sold for $200 – the 10-inch screen. For the 15.6-inch screen with hi-fi audio, the price is $350. The social platform has also added another feature for voice navigation on its device: “Hey Portal.”

As a result of the recent conflicts in regards to users’ privacy, Facebook has stated that Portal was built having “privacy and security in mind.”  As per Facebook’s words, it is possible to stop the camera and microphone by just tapping it. It has also been revealed that Portal doesn’t record, spy, or save video contents. Also according to Facebook, Portal doesn’t record calls and it can’t detect faces either (at least to start with).

The launch of Facebook Portal has raised lots of criticism and these critics are concerning privacy issues. A privacy activist, Mark Weinstein, stated:

Facebook’s Portal is the worst imaginable service the company has yet perpetrated on unsuspecting users.  Facebook’s Portal is the worst imaginable service the company has yet perpetrated on unsuspecting users.”

Weinstein also stated that the voice identification feature can still detect a user’s voice.

Again, after the Cambridge Analytica saga and also its latest 50 million user privacy violation, it’s becoming really hard for people to trust Facebook and their devices. Jessica Ortega of SiteLock in Scottsdale, Ariz stated:

Users would be right to question if the Facebook Portal has been properly security tested and what security measures are in place before adopting the technology in their homes.”

On the other hand, Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg revealed a photograph of his children with the Portal. He further stated:

Our girls don’t use a lot of screens yet, but we’re happy for them to do video calls to see their grandparents or so I can see them when I’m traveling.”

Zuckerberg is trying to send a message that Facebook holds the privacy of its users at heart amidst the bad news and the privacy issues around it in recent times.

Indeed, if Zuckerberg is to believe, Facebook Portal could be the platform that may redeem it from the privacy issues surrounding it. Generally, Facebook Portal could take over Alexa’s market and improve the video messaging feature.

Even though the cost incurred on this hardware may be much high for many, Facebook has promised a much-better feature in terms of messaging than its counterparts. With Portal launch, Facebook finally partners with Amazon and Google for a better messaging experience as it has incurred their voice technology.

On the release of Portal, a security activist, Sean McGrath said,

The Cambridge Analytica Scandal, the subsequent congressional hearings and, more recently, the hacking of more than 50 million accounts have left Facebook reputation in tatters and it should restore the trust its client has before unveiling new devices.”

In the end, as per Facebook, the device will not show ads as of now, but third-parties might embed their very own ads.

Image courtesy of Mohamed Hassan/Pxhere

Ali Qamar
the authorAli Qamar
Editor
Ali is an Internet security and tech enthusiast who enjoys "deep" research to dig out modern discoveries in the tech and security industry. Before turning to tech and security, he worked in marketing and management sector. He is passionate about sharing the knowledge with people and always try to give only the best.

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