iStock

Facebook is delaying its smart speaker debut

Facebook was thought to show off the speaker at F8 in May — but now will reportedly wait for privacy scandal to cool down

Like GearBrain on Facebook

Facebook's smart home speaker will not make its debut this May at the social media company's annual developer conference, F8. Instead, Facebook is holding the device back — in part because of the scandal with data mining company Cambridge Analytica around sharing the personal data from 50 million of Facebook's users, according to a story from Bloomberg.

Facebook's plan was to show off the speaker at F8 this spring — then release the device later in the fall. Those decisions are all now being reviewed given concerns Facebook users have over how their details are being shared and collected.

Smart home products are a data-mining fest. In order for them to work, they must collect information from people who use them: someone's location, email, sleeping patterns, vacation schedule and often access to their router. There's also biometric data collected from someone's voice and speaking patterns to their fingerprint. There's a lot of trust given to connected devices and the brands that peddle them. Facebook is hardly in a position to ask anyone for that right now.

Just 41 percent of U.S. adults actually have faith that Facebook can take care of their data, and obey privacy laws. That's understandable as Facebook mishandled the discovery in 2015 that Cambridge Analytica had access to millions of Facebook profiles — and did not alert any of its users of this breech. In addition, some are questioning whether this cache of data made any impact on the 2016 election in the U.S.

Facebook move to launch hardware devices, clearly shows an interest to expand its reach beyond its social media network. But as CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said, the company knows it has made mistakes with the public's trust — and has some work to do to regain that. And that is work Facebook clearly wants to address to before releasing any new products.


Like GearBrain on Facebook
Show Comments ()

The GearBrain

See which products "work with" either Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa by clicking on the device below.