FaceLexa, Can You Give My Personal Data to the Wikileaks Institute?

NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP

I’ve been publicly critical of Google and Amazon for their monopolistic and often (especially in Amazon’s case) predatory business practices. But neither seems to have a corporate culture with the same level of sleaze and ‘if we can code it, we should totally do it’ ethos as Facebook. They deserve all the reputational damage they’re now incurring. But this is especially rich.

Amazon is way out in front of the pack with its digital personal assistant Alexa. Google and now Apple have now also introduced their own versions. Facebook was apparently just about to debut its own offering at its big May developer conference. But according to Bloomberg, Facebook has decided that now might not be the best time to ask the public to invite a Facebook microphone and video camera into their homes given Facebook’s demonstrated indifference to safeguarding the mountains of personal information it collects about users.

From Bloomberg

The company’s new hardware products, connected speakers with digital-assistant and video-chat capabilities, are undergoing a deeper review to ensure that they make the right trade-offs regarding user data, the people said. While the hardware wasn’t expected to be available until the fall, the company had hoped to preview the devices at the largest annual gathering of Facebook developers, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing internal plans.

I freely admit my glee at Facebook’s much deserved reckoning.