Facebook Portal smart video calling

Portal is a line of smart displays and videophones that was developed by Facebook and released in 2018. 

Connected to Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant, the models provided video chat via Messenger and WhatsApp, augmented by a camera that automatically zoomed and tracked people's movements.

The series was discontinued by Meta in November 2022. 

Operator: Meta/Facebook
Developer: Meta/Facebook, Amazon
Country: USA
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Enable video calls
Technology: Computer vision
Issue: Privacy; Dual/multi-use
Transparency: Governance

Risks and harms 🛑

Some journalists, reviewers and digital rights advocates took issue with Portal's default ability to listen to, track and record everything people are saying and doing within range of its microphone and camera. 

Concerns about Facebook's use of users' data had circulated for many years but took on greater resonance when the full nature of the company's relationship with Cambridge Analytica became headline news in 2018.

Incidents 🔥

Page info
Type: System
Published: October 2021
Last updated: June 2024