Facebook Portal

October 2018
Updated: October 2021

In October 2018, Facebook launched Portal, a counter-top smart screen with an always-on microphone connected to Amazon's Alexa virtual assistant, and a camera for video chat that automatically tracks people's movements.

Initial reaction to the initial two models was largely positive. However, 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 earlier in 2018.

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