Even though Facebook has had some trust issues as of late in the eyes of the public, that’s not stopping the social giant from pushing more ads in your face as possible. Even as reports that the company’s Portal devices collect your data to target ads to you continue to surface, the company is hard at work on a piece of hardware designed to work with your TV that would bring the same functionality, complete with a built-in camera, into your living room.
Just as Facebook’s Portal devices are designed to compete with Amazon’s Echo Show, the device, which is code-named Project Ripley, is aimed at competing with devices like Amazon’s Fire TV, the Roku and Google’s Chromecast. The difference with this device is that it would reportedly add video-calling functionality to your TV.
Unlike traditional streaming media devices, Project Ripley would promote trending social media content as well as Facebook’s own Facebook Watch and IGTV services. Considering Facebook’s traditionally aggressive advertising, it’s easy to imagine that this device would bring ads to your home as well.
Perhaps this is how some people actually want their TV viewing experience to be, but given the recent controversy around Portal devices, it’s likely that privacy would be an issue for many potential customers. For most people, the living room is a place to relax at the end of the day. It might be a social space as well, but this is more in the traditional “invite people into your home” sense, not the internet-style “everything you do is public” sense.
Facebook has not commented on this, so for now, this remains a rumor. Given the company’s recent projects, it certainly seems possible that the company could be working on a device like Project Ripley, but whether it will ever become an actual product the company hopes to sell remains to be seen.