Photo: Twitter Screen Grab
Facebook launched its new "Portal" on Monday, an in-home electronic device equipped with a camera, smart speakers and a screen to allow users to make video calls from their living rooms and take care of some household tasks like turning on music.
It's the social media company's first hardware product and, with an emphasis on video, it's meant to compete with Amazon's Echo and Google's Home
The resounding reaction in the social media universe seems to be the launch is ill-timed amid the company's privacy scandals.
Earlier this year, Facebook had to acknowledge that as many as 87 million people may have had their data accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a data mining firm that worked for the Trump campaign and aimed to use the data to influence elections. More recently, Facebook revealed that hackers pierced its security to break into 50 million accounts.
Many on Twitter expressed distrust for the company and attacked Facebook's latest venture.
"I'd rather eat a bowl of thumbtacks than let you propagandists have a camera in my home," tweeted @AltUsPressSec.
"This is so tone-deaf from Facebook," shared @nick_txt. "Do you know how people see you now?"
"read the room - nobody wants this!" chimed in @SmokeAlarm.
As you can image, there were loads of references to George Orwell's dystopian novel "1984," predicting a future in which nobody has privacy and a network of inescapable "telescreens" monitor people's every action.
"What Orwell failed to predict is that we'd buy cameras ourselves and our biggest fear would be that nobody was watching," shared @keithlowell
"You really couldn't make this up...#FacebookPortal aka 1984 Telescreens..." wrote @cybernoelie.
Read more reactions to Portal in the gallery above.
Facebook says it won't store Portal video on its data centers. The device will allow users to disable the camera and microphone with a single tap and to lock it with a numerical passcode. Facebook also says it won't store any of the video sent through the camera on the computers in its data centers. There's also a physical camera cover to prevent recording.
"This is going to gain (Facebook) not only a place in the smart home, but also data they may not have been able to collect before or understand before," said ABI Research analyst Jonathan Collins. This includes people's location, activities and interests — "all the reasons companies want to get into the home."
Facebook will offer Portal in two sizes — a $199 model with a 10-inch horizontal screen and a $349 "Plus" version with a 15.6-inch screen that can switch between vertical or horizontal orientations.
Both models also include an internet-connected speaker that includes Amazon's voice-activated digital assistant, Alexa. Portal connects calls through Facebook's Messenger app, meaning that it can connect calls with people who aren't using Portal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.