Facebook 'planning smartwatch which wearers can send messages and monitor their health and fitness'

2 months ago 14

Facebook is reportedly developing an Android-based smartwatch that focuses on messaging and health features.

According to The Information, the social media giant is 'far along' with the development and could release the device next year – with a second–generation as soon as 2023.

The report claims the smartwatch will let users send and receive messages, track workouts and connect with health and fitness companies.

However, news of the device has caused a stir among consumers who say 'we can't trust Facebook with our personal data' and the smartwatch is just another way for them to 'track' unsuspecting users. 

Facebook is reportedly developing an Android-based smartwatch (stock) that focuses on messaging and health features, which is 'far along' with the development and could release the device next year – with a second–generation as soon as 2023.

Facebook is known for dipping its toes in different markets, but has really made a push into hardware over the years – it purchased Oculus in 2014, released its Portal camera in 2018 and is reportedly working on a branded pair of Ray-Band smart glasses.

But the smartwatch space may be a harder one to infiltrate – not only is it saturated, by Apple is leading the pack.

It was recently announced that more than 100 million people worldwide are sporting an Apple Watch.

Facebook, however, is typically not deterred by competition and probably sees the overcrowded space as a challenge that it can win.

However, news of the device has cause a stir among consumers who say 'we can't trust Facebook with our personal data' and the smartwatch is just another way for them to track unsuspecting users

The report claims the smartwatch will let users send and receive messages, track workouts and connect with health and fitness companies. Consumers are not sold on the smartwatch and believe it is another way for Facebook to gather more data

According to The Information, Facebook is designing its own operating system, but it is not yet clear if the software will power the wearable device or the firm will opt in to use Google's Wear OS.

The device will support standalone connectivity and  allow the device to connect to the services or hardware of health and fitness companies, such as Peloton Interactive, the maker of internet-connected exercise bikes,' the report adds.

The idea of Facebook unleashing a device that tracks user health may raise alarm bells for many, as the firm has repeatedly admitted using data in 'unethical' ways.

The firm made headlines in March 2018 after data of 87 million users was improperly accessed by Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy.

Facebook is designing its own operating system, but it is not yet clear if the software will power the wearable device or the firm will opt in to use Google's Wear OS.  But consumers joke that Facebook is now after our health data

Cambridge Analytica described itself as delivering 'data-driven behavioral change' for its clients in both political and commercial fields, using large amounts of personal data from social media and other sources.

The company profited from a feature that meant apps could ask for permission to access your own data as well as the data of all your Facebook friends.

This meant the company was able to mine the information of 87 million Facebook users even though just 270,000 people gave them permission to do so.

In December of the same year, a report surfaced claiming Facebook allowed over 150 companies including Netflix, Spotify and Bing, to access unprecedented amounts of user data - including private messages.

Some of these 'partners' had the ability to read, write, and delete Facebook users' private messages and to see all participants on a thread.

The idea of Facebook unleashing a device that tracks user health may raise alarm bells for many, as the firm is known for its 'devious ways' when it comes to its users data

One would think the Zuckerberg-owned company would shy away from such practices after being discovered – but has not.

Last July, Facebook again admitted to improperly sharing user data with third-party companies.

In a blog post, Konstantinos Papamiltiadis, vice-president of Platform Partnerships at Facebook, revealed a few sparse details about the latest issue.

He said around 5,000 apps had recently received data they should not have, including email addresses, birthdays, language and gender of users.

Now that Facebook could soon release a smartwatch, some may wonder what the motives are behind the new tech.

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