Whoops! Facebook Portal Collects User Data After All

Updated

When Facebook announced Portal, its answer to Amazon's Echo Show and Google's Home Hub, it insisted that the device wouldn't use your data. This was a surprising (but welcome) revelation coming from Facebook, which doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to privacy.

Credit: FacebookCredit: Facebook

Well, it turns out that that's not entirely the case. Facebook has since told Recode that data about whom you call and how you use Portal can, in fact, be used to target you with ads on Facebook and Instagram. 

Essentially, Portal is built on the same infrastructure as Facebook's Messenger. Facebook will collect the same types of information that it collects on Messenger, including metadata like the length and frequency of your conversations.

MORE: How to Stop Facebook from Sharing Your Data

Facebook also noted to Recode that while the data could be used, the company doesn't "intend" to use it. Given that this is Facebook, however, we're not sold on this claim.

As recent events have made clear, ambiguity in these matters is (justifiably) a problem for many consumers. And while the most Facebook Messenger can get is your conversation metadata, a device with a video camera and microphone spying on you for ads could potentially do much more damage.

If you're worried about the use of your data, it's worth turning off the webcam and microphone on this device. Or you could consider the upcoming Google Home Hub, which doesn't even have a camera.