Facebook has released its first-ever technology gadget and it is kind of creepy. The social-networking giant recently revealed a fresh line of voice-activated home speakers along with displays that activates video chats with family and friends. But critics stated that the speakers sound similar to Big Brother listening devices.
In addition, to collect information on the basis of user’s commands with artificial intelligence software such as Alexa, the speakers are provided with cameras that follow users command across a room and boost the sound of their voices while they talk. Ido Kilovaty—a professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law—tweeted that “Facebook’s like … look at this cool new gadget that eavesdrops on you and does creepy stuff with the info it collects.” Considering the privacy concerns, Facebook said that it is providing the Portals with a cover to chunk the camera lens for users’ privacy. However, users can disable the microphone option by clicking a button on the device. Though, critics stated that it is still unclear if there is another way to turn the microphone off with a voice command. Facebook noted in a recent blog post that the device does not view, listen, or keep the data of Portal video calls. The blog post also said that that the Portal’s camera neither utilizes facial recognition nor it identifies the user. The user is able to delete Portal’s voice history in “Facebook Activity Log” option any time.
Recently, Facebook was also in news for paying £15.8 Million tax in the U.K. last year in spite of generating a record £1.3 Billion in British sales. The social network giant’s accounts showed that while the company expanded its UK revenue by nearly 50% in 2017, its pre-tax profits were expanded by only 6% to £62.7 Million. Facebook’s taxable profits in the U.K. were decreased by a £444 Million charge for undefined “administrative expenses.” Facebook generated $20 Billion (£15.3 Billion) of profit on total sales of $40 Billion worldwide in the last year that indicates it transformed half of its sales into profits. Moreover, in the U.K. only 5% of sales were transformed into UK-taxable profits.