Facebook wants to add a camera to your TV

Facebook wants to add a camera to your TV

It sounded a little slippery last week, when Facebook announced Portal, a new voice-activated speaker and video chat gadget, and the company said that it would not use data collected through the device to target ads.

Facebook has faced scrutiny for its lapses in privacy protections, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal that prompted the US Congress to question Mark Zuckerberg about all aspects of the social network, along with Facebook's history of screwing up and later apologizing.

However, before the company takes the leaps, it needs to ensure that it has more meat in its bun than just Facebook Watch and music streaming services it has integrated on its newly launched smart camera-cum-smart speaker.

A Facebook spokesperson explained that Portal's voice calls are built on Messenger's infrastructure, and as such it collects the same information - such as call length and call frequency - as other Messenger-enabled devices.

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The Android based device, code-named Ripley, is reportedly based on some of the same technology as Facebook's recently unveiled Portal smart display but the big difference is that it has a video camera that can be placed on a TV it will also stream movies and other content. We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms. Recode originally reported that "no data collected through Portal... will be used to target users with ads on Facebook". "Other information, like application usage can also be collected for the objective of advertising", responded to the request to Recode the speakers Facebook. The box would also give users access to Facebook's YouTube competitor and other entertainment options. But then Facebook stepped in and corrected Camargo: Yes, Portal won't have ads, but it still grabs plenty of data on users' calls.

Facebook has so far declined comment about the Ripley project, which conceivably could put Facebook into more direct competition with established players like Roku and Amazon for a slice of your TV-related attention.

Facebook has talked extensively about the Portals' privacy features.

It's not clear when Facebook would launch such a product.

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