Facebook ‘Ripley’ could turn your TV into a huge Portal


Those devices include the social networking giant's Portal cameras, which let people make video calls and uses A.I.to "follow" the user as they move around during the call. If it does come out, Facebook would be directly competing with Apple TV, Google's Chromecast, Amazon and Roku.

At the launch of the Facebook Portal last week, the firm raised eyebrows when it claimed that it would not use data collected through the device to target ads. While the Portal technology is undoubtedly clever, the fact that Facebook launched its devices while still in the midst of a privacy scandal that saw personal information of thousands of users exposed was seen as misguided at best, or tremendously arrogant by those less forgiving.

Facebook has conceded for the first time that data gathered via its Portal video-chat gadget can be repurposed for targeted ads displayed elsewhere, just days after confirming 50m accounts have been compromised by hackers.

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That contradicts what Facebook said to reporters from various outlets, including CNET, ZDNet's sister site - that the company wouldn't use Portal data directly for ad targeting. But with any product built by Facebook, the concern quickly shifts to privacy and data security. Even though Facebook might not really collect data for ad targeting, it can not be overlooked that that company just stated that Portal is fully capable of doing it. "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 concluded, contradicting earlier statements regarding Portal.

Suffice to say, tech Twitter isn't exactly surprised by Facebook Portal's data-collection abilities. The box would also give users access to Facebook's YouTube competitor and other entertainment options. There's a button to turn off the always-on camera, it comes with a lens cover, and Facebook doesn't listen to, view, or keep the contents of video calls. It would be really challenging for Facebook to market its hardware amidst the rising cases of data breach and users' waning trust in the company.