Facebook employees are leaving five-star reviews on Portal's Amazon page

Facebook Portal

There's a lot of love for Facebook's new Portal smart display on Amazon - from Facebook's own employees, at least.

The Portal and Portal+ are Facebook's attempt to enter the smart home market, with a screen-based smart display to offer video chat services. But it seems some of the more glowing praise found online is from Facebook employees - which they're not really meant to be doing.

New York Times columnist @kevinroose (opens in new tab) posted the revelation on Twitter, showing how a number of five-star reviews on the Portal's Amazon product page were signed off by the names of Facebook employees - an accusation confirmed by Facebook executive Andrew Bosworth. You can read Bosworth's comment to Roose's tweet below.

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Smart displays are big business nowadays, with success of the likes of the Google Home Hub and Amazon Echo Show showing an appetite for tablet-like home appliances.

Facebook's forays into the market, the Portal the Portal+, didn't receive a huge amount of fanfare at launch, which may have had something to do with ongoing concerns about the company's use of customer data. 

Facebook admitted as much, telling news site Recode (opens in new tab) that "Portal voice calling is built on the Messenger infrastructure, so when you make a video call on Portal, we collect the same types of information (i.e. usage data such as length of calls, frequency of calls) that we collect on other Messenger-enabled devices." 

Whether positive reviews from Facebook's own employees are enough to allay those fears remains to be seen.

Via SlashGear (opens in new tab)

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist. Before going freelance, he spent more than three years at TechRadar reporting on TVs, projectors and smart speakers as the website's Home Cinema Editor – and has been interviewed live on both BBC World News and Channel News Asia, discussing the future of transport and 4K resolution televisions respectively. As a graduate of English Literature and persistent theatre enthusiast, he'll usually be found forcing Shakespeare puns into his technology articles, which he thinks is what the Bard would have wanted. Bylines also include Edge, T3, and Little White Lies.