Facebook to unveil new versions of Portal video chat devices this autumn

The release of the Portal new video chat devices fits into Facebook’s focus toward private messaging by encryption of conversations. (Reuters)
Updated 11 June 2019

Facebook to unveil new versions of Portal video chat devices this autumn

  • The launch comes amid concerns over Facebook’s privacy and content moderation practices
  • Facebook is one of the biggest global players in private messaging with its WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona: Facebook plans to release new versions of its Portal video chatting devices this autumn, the company’s vice president of AR/VR, Andrew Bosworth, said during an interview at the Code Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“We have a lot more that we’re going to unveil later in this fall, new form factors that we’re going to be shipping,” Bosworth said of the new devices.
He did not say how many had been sold since Portal’s launch late last year in the United States, or what the new devices were.
The launch came amid concerns over Facebook’s privacy and content moderation practices that have led some people to abandon the service and the company to warn of thinning profits.
The release of new video chat devices fits into Facebook’s focus toward private messaging by encryption of conversations on more of its messaging services.
Facebook is one of the biggest global players in private messaging with its WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram, each used by more than 1 billion people. Only WhatsApp fully secures message content from all outsiders, including Facebook itself.
Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said in March that within a few years, direct messaging would dwarf discussion on the traditional, open platform of Facebook’s news feed, where public posts can go viral across the world.
Bosworth said in the interview on Monday the devices did not have the ability to record things and were only for calls.
“There was a lot of conversation around us launching Portal. But it’s about what Facebook is at its core. It’s entirely about private conversation,” Bosworth said.


‘Juhayman: 40 years on:’ Arab News’ multimedia project tells full story of 1979 Makkah siege

Updated 19 November 2019

‘Juhayman: 40 years on:’ Arab News’ multimedia project tells full story of 1979 Makkah siege

  • Featuring interviews with key players such as Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s English-language newspaper tells the full story of the unthinkable event that cast a shadow over its society for decades
  • As part of its Deep Dive series online, featuring documentary-style multimedia stories, Arab News looks back at this event in a way no Saudi publication has done before

Forty years ago this week, on Nov. 20, 1979, a group of militants did the unthinkable: They seized the Grand Mosque in Makkah, taking people hostage inside in a two-week standoff with Saudi forces.

Until recently, the crisis remained too painful for Saudis to examine fully for almost four decades. Now Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s leading English-language daily, is looking back at the event in a way that no publication in the Kingdom has done before: with a multimedia Deep Dive story online at arabnews.com/juhayman-40-years-on.

“The 1979 attack on Makkah’s  Grand Mosque halted major social development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, negatively affecting a progressing nation for generations to come,” said Rawan Radwan, the lead reporter on the project, who is based in Jeddah. “At Arab News, we delved deep into the matter to uncover the story of Juhayman, the terrorist who seized the holiest site and shook the Islamic world. It’s a story that for many years struck fear in the hearts of the Saudi people, yet has not been covered in such depth in local or international media — until now.”

Arab News launched its Deep Dive series earlier this year as an engaging new way to showcase its in-depth storytelling on key topics, enlivened by audio, video and animated graphics. Its first story was an in-depth account of the space mission by the first Arab astronaut, Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman; the siege of Makkah is another story from the Kingdom’s past that it chose to revisit.

Extensive research was conducted over two months in several cities, including Makkah itself, and involved teams in five of Arab News’ bureaus: Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai, London and Beirut. The team interviewed key players such as Prince Turki Al-Faisal, then head of the General Intelligence Directorate, and re-created what happened in a series of interactive maps.

 

Juhayman: 40 years on
On the anniversary of the 1979 attack on Makkah's Grand Mosque, Arab News tells the full story of an unthinkable event that shocked the Islamic world and cast a shadow over Saudi society for decades
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