If you were patiently waiting for Facebook to release their version of a connected home speaker, you will have to wait a little longer yet. Initially planned to be revealed at Facebook’s upcoming developer conference on May 1-2, 2018, the launch is being delayed. Reasons cited are growing controversy over the privacy of user data after the partisan data-mining and the news that consulting firm Cambridge Analytica had gained access to 50 million Facebook user accounts without user permission.
The Facebook speaker will be competition to other connected speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod. After confirming that the social media company collects user phone calls and texts, it will be difficult for consumers to trust a speaker in their home that records everything and is connected to all devices. Facebook took a large hit over the past week as more and more information is exposed about how user data is treated.
The speaker was initially planned for a reveal in May and a release this fall, though it is unclear if Facebook will continue with the fall release schedule with the delayed reveal. According to a source close to the company, there will be deeper reviews of the connected products to ensure they strike the right balance between functional connectivity and user privacy.
Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is headed to Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. to testify before Congress. Beyond the breach of confidence regarding user data, the social media firm is embroiled in the controversy surrounding Russian involvement in the 2016 US federal election.