When Facebook announced its new “Portal” video-capable smart speaker lineup last week, the company claimed it wouldn’t use any data collected through the devices to target users with ads. This week, it’s a different story.
Last Monday, we wrote: “No data collected through Portal — even call log data or app usage data, like the fact that you listened to Spotify — will be used to target users with ads on Facebook.”
We wrote that because that’s what we were told by Facebook executives.
But Facebook has since reached out to change its answer: Portal doesn’t have ads, but data about who you call and data about which apps you use on Portal can be used to target you with ads on other Facebook-owned properties.
“Portal voice calling is built on the Messenger infrastructure, so when you make a video call on Portal, we collect the same types of information (i.e. usage data such as length of calls, frequency of calls) that we collect on other Messenger-enabled devices. We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms. Other general usage data, such as aggregate usage of apps, etc., may also feed into the information that we use to serve ads,” a spokesperson said in an email to Recode.
However, Rafa Camargo, the product VP in charge of Portal, later told Recode that while the data could technically be used for ad targeting, he doesn’t know if it will be.
“I think [my colleague] was intending to say that we don’t intend to use it,” Camargo told Recode. “Potentially, it could be used.”
This revelation is just one more item to add to the list of why I personally wouldn’t put a Facebook device in my home. The company’s privacy policies and recent data breaches all add up to something I wouldn’t want in my front room, or worse, my bedroom.