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Facebook Is Delaying Its Always-Listening Smart Speaker — But Why?

Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mystifying news out of Menlo Park, California, this morning. According to Bloomberg, Facebook has decided to delay its voice-activated speaker, which would serve as a competitor to the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. Why would the vast social network do this? Why would it delay the announcement of a device with an always-on microphone that will send voice data back to Facebook?

I am, of course, just having a laugh. We know why. Amid one of the strongest backlashes yet to Facebook’s prying eyes, Bloomberg reports that the company has scrapped plans to announce the new tech at its annual F8 developer conference. “The company’s new hardware products, connected speakers with digital-assistant and video-chat capabilities, are undergoing a deeper review to ensure that they make the right trade-offs regarding user data,” sources said.

Facebook reportedly still plans to launch the devices later this year, despite the fact that focus-group testing showed consumer unease about a Facebook listening device in the home. That’s the Facebook cycle: You might think it’s creepy, but it’s going to do the thing anyway.

Facebook Delays Always-Listening Device for Unclear Reasons