Facebook Portal Can Collect Your Data For Displaying Targeted Ads

Facebook's Portal Plus.                  James Martin  CNET

Facebook's Portal Plus. James Martin CNET

Facebook is reportedly working on a camera that will pair with existing smart TVs and turn them into a giant screen for social media content or video calls.

"We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms", the spokesperson continues. The company also admitted that other general usage data, such as how the users utilize their apps and much more other information could aid in the methods that the company uses to serve or present ads. Like Portal, Ripley would enable video calling.

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.

The Portal already has stiff competition from Google Home and Amazon Echo, although its video-calling technology gives it a unique twist to help differentiate it from other smart speaker devices.

So, some users may find it concerning that Facebook's new Portal and Portal+ smart camera devices can in fact be used to facilitate targeted ads.

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With projects like Portal and Ripley Facebook is trying to build a consumer-hardware business outside of its virtual reality brand Oculus that was acquired by the social networking giant in March 2014 for almost $2 billion. But regardless of the name, it's sure to encounter heavy skepticism due to Facebook's history of privacy and security troubles. The device would allow Facebook to compete with Roku, Amazon, Apple and other set-top boxes.

You may want to rethink that Facebook Portal pre-order.

Facebook last month revealed that the biggest data breach in the company's 14-year history had exposed the personal information of about 50 million users.

Of course, Facebook will have to ensure that a broader ecosystem is created around its Portal and Ripley devices, before it can hope for a broader adaption. That data may be used in the future to target you with better ads.

Pat Walshe of Privacy Matters claimed that Portal could be compared to Dracula given the responsibility of manning the blood bank.

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