Facebook Portal Gets Mixed Data Privacy, Functionality Reviews
Marketers may not want to get excited about advertising on Facebook Portal just yet, despite being all-in on ads in the network and on Messenger. While details about advertising or brand-connected options haven’t yet been announced for Portal, Facebook is going to offer them on Portal and Portal+, which started shipping on Nov. 7.
“When you use Portal, we process the same kinds of information as when you use Facebook Products on your other devices. Some of this information, including the fact that you logged into your account or how often you use a feature or app, may be used to inform the ads you see across Facebook. For example, if you make lots of video calls, you might see some ads related to video calling.”
Marketing Land’s Amy Gesenhues writes on Nov. 8:
“In other words, users who are frequently using up bandwidth for video calls on their WiFi via the Portal may end up seeing ads for faster or cheaper Internet connections across the company’s other products: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Facebook Audience Network and soon WhatsApp.
“According to [Facebook], here’s what users can expect to have tracked: account logins, how often they use a device feature, how often they call someone or how long they stay on a call. Facebook is also monitoring volume levels, bytes received and frame resolutions.”
— Facebook (@facebook) October 8, 2018
Still, marketers may want to weigh the mixed reviews the device that can connect Facebook users for video chats is getting from tech reporters. Their main misgivings revolve around the Cambridge Analytica data privacy brouhaha, as well as other Facebook data use controversies.
The New York Times just tested Facebook Portal and the voice interface got a glowing review on Nov. 8, with a passing grade on data privacy. But in the end, reviewer Farhad Manjoo deemed it “a well-designed luxury, at this point,” that’s competing with the likes of Slack and Amazon’s Echo Show. (Reviewers from CNN and The Verge thought privacy would make the Portal an overriding “no” for consumers.)
But this comment from Times reviewer Mike Isaac is telling:
“Whenever I wasn’t using the Portal, I unplugged it. I turned the camera around to face the window looking over the back yard. I would periodically check to make sure all lights or microphones were off when I took a phone call or text.
“Am I too paranoid? Maybe. But that’s only because of the tech environment we find ourselves in, largely a situation of Facebook’s own making. The company doesn’t really have anyone to blame but itself.”
Then there’s this comment from CNN Business reviewer Heather Kelly:
“The Portal+ is new and will likely evolve as Facebook sees how people are using it. For now, it's an awkward mishmash of technology trends that despite any redeeming qualities — and there are a few — feels like a genuinely bizarre product for a company plagued by privacy concerns.”
And this headline from The Verge’s Dan Seifert on Nov. 8 shows there’s little point in even reading his piece: “Facebook Portal Review: Trust Fail.”
Tweets show similar sentiment about data privacy and existing tech, like FaceTime:
— Bravo Junkie (@Bravo_Junkie0) November 12, 2018
So Facebook Portal's selling point is that the camera follows you around the house? Not alarming. Not alarming at all.
— Chillin in the Deep (@Organism_46B) November 12, 2018
Has anyone else seen the Facebook portal?! It’s incredible. Now you can choose a $200 or $350 device to do what your phone, tablet, or computer already does with FaceTime, Skype, Snapchat or like a hundred other apps. Groundbreaking. Original. Revolutionary.
— Sloan Mazur (@SloanMazur) November 8, 2018
What do you think, marketers?
Please respond in the comments section below.
Related story: Facebook Portal Enters the Voice Interface Market