FACEBOOK’S chief has denied wanting to put cameras in your living room – despite Facebook selling a smart home camera.
Speaking during a video interview, Mark Zuckerberg appeared to complete forget his company’s master plan to kit your house out with Facebook-powered cameras.
Late last year, Facebook unveiled the Portal, a smart device with a built-in camera designed for your home.
The Portal has a camera to allow video-calling with friends, but has previously been dubbed a “spying gadget” based on Facebook’s terrible track history on privacy.
Facebook is selling the Portal to sit in your living room, bedroom, or kitchen.
But speaking to Harvard Law professor Jonathan Zittrain, Zuckerberg said Facebook didn’t want to put a camera in everyone’s living room – even though it does.
The issue came up during a conversation about encryption, which is technology that scrambles chat messages to prevent outsiders snooping on you.
“I’ve already said publicly that my inclination is to move these services in the direction of being all encrypted. At least the private communication version,” Zuckerberg explained.
He went on: “I basically think that if you wanna talk in metaphors, messaging is people’s living room and we definitely don’t want a society where there’s a camera in everyone’s living room watching the content of those conversations.
Harvard boff Zittrain rightly pointed out that “people are happily putting cameras in their living room”.
Zuckerberg responded: ”That’s their choice. I guess they’re putting cameras in their living rooms for a number of reasons.”
This led Zittrain to rightly remind Zuckerberg that “Facebook has a camera”, referring to the Portal device.
Zuck tried to brush this under the rug saying that it “would be encrypted”, and added: ”Portal works over Messenger, so if we go towards encryption on Messenger then that’ll be fully encrypted, which frankly is what people want.”
Facebook Portal – mired in controversy
This product came at a difficult time for Facebook…
- We first heard about the Facebook Portal back in January, thanks to a leak
- The device was tipped as a smart screen to rival the Amazon Echo Show
- At the time, it was rumoured to arrive at Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference in May
- But the F8 conference came and went, and the Facebook Portal made no appearance
- It was speculated that Facebook shelved the product temporarily due to an ongoing privacy fiasco
- The company was forced to admit that it had given away the personal info of millions of users without their permission
- Billionaire Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ended up testifying before US Congress over the gaffe
- Then in October, Facebook finally unveiled the Portal
- Sadly, this announcement came just one week after Facebook admitted a second major privacy blunder
- Bugs introduced into Facebook’s website code in 2017 gave hackers complete access to 50million user accounts
- The incident was still fresh in everyone’s mind, but Facebook was in a tough position
- The company couldn’t afford to hold back the launch, given that Christmas was near – and would be a key time for Portal purchasing
- It’s likely that some users simply won’t buy a Portal thanks to Facebook’s shocking track record on privacy
Facebook announced the Portal range of smart screens last year.
They’re designed to rival the Amazon Echo smart speakers, and let you video chat with friends online – but they came at a bad time, just days after we learned about a Facebook hack that left 50million accounts exposed to hackers
Facebook describes them as “video communication devices”, and they’re a clear rival to Amazon’s Echo Show smart screen.
The speakers are powered by artificial intelligence, and even come with Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant built-in.
And their main function, according to Facebook, is video chat: “What if you could easily connect with your closest friends and family and feel like you’re in the same room — even when you’re miles apart?”
So it looks like Zuckerberg was wrong about his own company’s goals.
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Sick of Zuckerberg’s dodgy antics? Follow our simple guide on how to delete Facebook.
Facebook recently announced plans to merge Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram into a single messaging service.
And read about how Mark Zuckerberg once called Facebook users “dumb f***s” for handing over personal info to him.
Would you feel safe knowing a Facebook camera was set up in your living room? Let us know in the comments!
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