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.


TWITTER POLL: Readers split over effect of coronavirus pandemic on spending 

Updated 09 July 2020

TWITTER POLL: Readers split over effect of coronavirus pandemic on spending 

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home and lockdown restrictions have left many to be confined at home with little to spend on. 
But in an Arab News Twitter poll that asked whether people have managed to save, the answers were divided. 
Out of 609 votes, only 34 percent said their savings have increased since the start of the pandemic, while 22.5 percent said they were still spending. 
However, 33.5 percent said they couldn’t afford to save as many lost their jobs due to business closure. 


According to a UN Economic Commission for Western Asia report, the coronavirus pandemic threatens to wipe out more than 1.7 million jobs across the Arab world this year.
Arab nations’ gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to shrink by at least $42 billion in 2020, hit by plunging oil prices and virus-linked shutdowns, the report said.
“More than 1.7 million jobs could be lost in 2020, with the unemployment rate increasing by 1.2 percentage points,” it claimed.

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