Facebook outlines Portal’s security policy as devices begin shipping

Facebook’s Portal, the smart home device which the company revealed last month, has begun shipping in the US, and to mark the occasion Facebook is clarifying Portal’s privacy policy.

Portal and Portal+ are video communication devices from that allow you to video call another Portal or Facebook Messenger user.

“We know there are some questions around Portal privacy and ads, so we’d like to provide more details on these topics,” the company says on its website.

Facebook has recently faced much suspicion for the way it supposedly uses private user information, particularly to target ads. When it comes to privacy and security on Portal and Portal+ however, Facebook claims that the video calling devices do not have access to any contacts or what you say to them.

“Portal video calls are encrypted, so your calls are secure,” it explains.

The company also claims that the camera and microphones are run locally on the device, therefore nothing is stored or sent to Facebook’s servers.

While Facebook insisted it does not use or keep any private information or use it to target ads, it does examine your usage “to understand how Portal is being used and to improve the product”.

Information taken includes that will be used for ads include the “frequency and length of your calls” along with “volume level, number of bytes received, and frame resolution”.

Facebook will also be able to receive information about crash logs on Portal, which can include “fragments of video and audio information that are less than one second in length”.

“When you opt in to give us feedback through your device settings, information from your Portal including crash logs and device logs may be sent to Facebook,” the company notes further, once again stipulating that this information is used to improve the device and not target ads.

“We don’t show Facebook ads on Portal. However, you may see ads from some third-party apps on Portal (e.g., music partners) in the same way you’ll see ads from these services on other devices,” Facebook concludes.

Feature image: Facebook

Shereesa Moodley


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