Clearly, the recent issues that Facebook has faced when it comes to privacy are affecting more than just the share price. According to reports, their new smart speaker, designed to rival those from Amazon, Google and Apple, has been pushed back from a mid-year release to October with the manufacturing volumes revised downwards by 20% this year. It seems they are anticipating a world that will be less friendly to the potential for Facebook to listen in on their private conversations.
One of the revelations from Mark Zuckerberg's recent testimony was an emphatic statement that Facebook doesn't listen in on conversations surreptitiously using your smartphone's microphone. But even if that's true, it seems the company is avoiding the potential hassles that come with an underselling smart speaker, just as Apple has faced with the HomePod.
According to Digitimes, "Facebook has prepared two smart speakers codenamed Fiona and Aloha, both equipped with a 15-inch in-cell panel supplied from LG Display. Pegatron is the sole manufacturer of the two devices".
The dust is still settling on the fallout from Facebook's recent issues. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has hit the company hard, with the share price being belted and there are calls for found Mark Zuckerberg to give up his control with many suggesting his dual role as Chairman and CEO needs to be split.
While the company has tightened up sharing rules for developers and made data sharing settings less opaque, it's clear the company needs to do more to break the view that they are an all seeing and all knowing corporate monster that is intent on swallowing more and more data as they seek to dominate the world of online advertising. By delaying their speaker ambitions they can put some space between allegations of listening or monitoring to all that we do and a device that is designed to listen to us.
After the last few weeks, there's little chance I'd put a Facebook-designed piece of hardware in my home. Would you?