Facebook ‘Ripley’ could turn your TV into a huge Portal

Facebook backtracks, says data from Portal devices may inform ad targeting

Facebook admits the Portal could spy on you

It's a pretty bold move for a company plagued with data security breaches and struggling to regain its users' confidence.

Recode reports that although the Portal devices don't show ads, data about who you call and which apps you use can be used for ad-targeting purposes on other Facebook properties.

"We may use this information to inform the ads we show you across our platforms", the spokesperson continues.

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Facebook has recanted the claim made by an earlier report that Portal can not collect data to target users with ads on Facebook.

Rafa Camargo, product Vice President for Portal, went on to follow up the contradiction by apologizing for sharing inaccurate info. The head-mounted interface has a dozen or so Facebook employees working on it and it's said to be in the early stages of development.

The device will essentially be a cross between the recently announced Portal video-chat gadget and Google's Chromecast dongle - which is to say, it'll plug into your TV and play videos for you, as well as let you chat with your friends.

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Pat Walshe of Privacy Matters claimed that Portal could be compared to Dracula given the responsibility of manning the blood bank. Apart from furthering support for apps, Facebook will also have to assuage privacy concerns before it can hope to convince people to turn their TVs into a big eye. While Facebook's Portal now doesn't show ads, video streams from third-party sources like YouTube may have ad insertions like they do on mobile devices and desktop computers. Case in point, Facebook is facing a lawsuit alleging the social media giant purposefully inflated its average video viewership metrics by "some 150-900 percent" in order to convince advertisers to buy pricey video ad slots. The box would also give users access to Facebook's YouTube competitor and other entertainment options.

Tech powerhouses with software and hardware products have a distinct, and nearly unparalleled, advantage in today's competitive market - but will Facebook's users be willing to trust the tech giant enough to allow the Portal into their homes?

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