This is not another post about the horrors of Facebook’s data management, though I have a lot to say on that (as does everyone). Nope, I write now to question what they are up to with recent products and content plans.

The Portal by Facebook…who wants it?

The notion of the most popular social network in history selling a physical device is akin to the Hooli Box lampooned on HBO’s Silicon Valley.

In every successful marketing scenario, you should identify the problem your product aims to solve. What issue does the Portal by Facebook solve? Video chats? Most people already know how to Facetime or Skype. What about wanting a larger canvas than a phone to chat on? We have tablets for that. From the TV ads for Portal, the device seems to solve “the problem” of needing a hands-free way to video chat, but can’t we just prop up their iPads?

The Portal starts at $149, with a Plus version available for $249. Both have Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant built in, which begs the question as to what differentiates the Portal from Amazon’s Echo device?

It will be interesting to see how sales go during the Holiday period. Will Grandparents, who appear to be prime targets, buy and use the device? I can’t think of anyone else who wants it right now. Particularly with the aforementioned Facebook privacy concerns.

Who wants to watch full TV episodes on Facebook Watch?

When Facebook launched its Watch tab, we all assumed it would mostly present short-form content. Yet, the platform has recently licensed the complete Buffy the Vampire TV series. It is one of the greatest shows ever, but who wants to watch it on Facebook? And with ads?

I am perplexed by both of these Facebook moves, especially during the privacy fallout and growing popularity of deleting Facebook.

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