Maybe this isn't the best time for Facebook to release a new product — especially one that collects even more data about its users.
As such, Bloomberg reports that Facebook has decided to delay the unveiling of its own connected home speaker, which was scheduled in its forthcoming developer conference in May. Part of Facebook's cold feet is, needless to say, a massive scandal its currently facing over sly and under-the-table data collection.
Facebook Delays Smart Speaker
The company's planned new products, which would expand upon its hardware portfolio, include connected speakers with digital assistant and video chat capabilities. The report, which cites people familiar with the matter, alleges that said products are undergoing a more thorough review to ensure that they make the right trade-offs involving user data and privacy.
The products wouldn't have been available until this fall, but Facebook had hoped to at least preview them in May. These devices are part of a larger plan to incorporate Facebook into more intimate parts of a person's social life, with the help of artificial intelligence. Concerns over Facebook's data collection practices, which blew over ferociously amid the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, don't seem to be stopping anytime soon. With this, it's probably best if Facebook holds off on announcing new products that seem like a ploy to acquire even more user data.
Facebook Cambridge Analytica Scandal
Facebook has been on the forefront of public outrage and intense scrutiny for the past few days after it was discovered that Cambridge Analytica, a political advertising firm, acquired information on 50 million Facebook users without their consent or knowledge. The reports quickly spiraled into a pernicious public crisis for the company, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is now expected to face Congress soon to testify about the company's privacy practices.
Facebook's apology come in the form of full-page ads across the major newspaper in circulation, including The New York Times, but it's not clear whether this is helping to ease public unrest over its sketchy data collection. As if the situation couldn't get any worse, several Android users have also recently discovered that Facebook has been collecting information on calls and SMS all this time without their consent.
Facebook still plans to launch in hardware devices this year, Bloomberg reports. It's not clear whether the company plans to renew its policies on privacy and data collection or even promise to make changes around them. The upcoming conference in May is a crucial opportunity for Facebook to come clean and attempt to salvage its image.
Would you buy a smart speaker from Facebook? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!