Following a major data scandal, Facebook has put on hold the release of its much-anticipated smart speaker. As millions of Facebook users have just learned that the social media giant leaked troves of personal data to a Russian-linked firm, Facebook thinks it is not a good time to release the product.
What’s more, the smart speaker, which was supposed to rival Amazon’s Echo and Apple’s Home Pod, is designed to collect even more data on the users. Facebook planned to unveil its own voice-activated speaker in May at the F8 conference.
People familiar with the matter, though, said the smart speaker will be released, but at a later date. There is no plan to cancel the device altogether.
Smart speakers are extremely popular devices among tech aficionados, but they remain highly controversial with the rest of the world. These devices can sit in the living room and kitchen and listen in any word uttered in their presence.
Your Personal Data Is Not Safe with Facebook
Amazon’s terms of service clearly state that Echo’s in-built voice assistant Alexa gathers data on the users and the company can do anything with the said data. Facebook will likely do the same with the private data since its entire business model is built on monetizing users’ data.
Apple, on the other hand, vows not to share the data collected by its HomePods as the company is traditionally oriented toward protecting customers’ privacy. By contrast, Facebook will likely sell its users’ voice interactions to the highest bidder.
There is also the risk of hackers to tap that information and leak it to third-parties that need it in political campaigns. This is what happened in the latest Facebook scandal. Personal data on 50 million of Facebook users in the U.S. was handed over to the Russia-tied Cambridge Analytica, which built profiles of U.S. voters.
In addition, few Facebook users are aware that the Facebook app listens in to their conversations by default and keeps a record of their physical location just like a stalker would.
Image Source: Wikimedia