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Facebook begins shipping its smart speakers Portal and Portal+

08 November 2018 3

As all the major tech giants are competing into the smart speaker industry, leading social media platform Facebook isn’t staying behind and has dived into the industry. Being the first actual hardware by Facebook, the company announced Portal and Portal+ smart speakers last month. These smart speakers feature AI capabilities from Amazon Alexa and are priced at $199 and $349 respectively as Facebook begins shipping the device.


Facebook has been into data privacy issues last year and the world didn’t forget it. Considering it all, Facebook has also rolled out a clarification on the data and privacy concerns in a blog post that covers upon the topic. Facebook promises not to listen to the calls made by the device while it won’t listen to or view the video calls. Likewise, these calls would be encrypted and Facebook mentions how all the AI tech is being processed locally on the device while no intelligence is being transferred to the servers.

Facebook shares how it would be treating the conversations on the Portal device just like on Facebook Messenger. In a statement, it writes,

“When you make a Portal video call, we process the same device usage information as other Messenger-enabled devices,” and also “This can include volume level, number of bytes received, and frame resolution — it can also include the frequency and length of your calls. Some of this information may be used for advertising purposes. For example, we may use the fact that you make lots of video calls to inform some of the ads you see. This information does not include the contents of your Portal video calls.”

If we get to believe, while there is no reason not to, as per Facebook, it won’t be collecting personally identifying data, though it would be tracking the information for local AI processing. Would you be comfortable using a smart device backed by Facebook considering all the history of data privacy concerns Facebook has been into? Let us know in the comment section below.


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