The reception to Facebook Portal has been, at best, a mixed bag. Between the company’s ongoing privacy woes and a lackluster response, Facebook likely didn’t get the response it was anticipating for its first in-house hardware creation. Still, both the Portal and Portal Plus are floating around the four-star mark over on Amazon. Not too shabby.
New York Times columnist Kevin Roose noticed something fishy in all of this, noting on Twitter that many of the verified reviewers on the site bore the same names as Facebook employees. “Reviewing your employer’s products is definitely against Amazon’s rules,” he wrote today. “It’s also not exactly an indicator of confidence in how well they’re selling organically!”
Facebook’s AR/VR VP Andrew Bosworth was quick to respond, tweeting, “[N]either coordinated nor directed from the company. From an internal post at the launch: ‘We, unequivocally, DO NOT want Facebook employees to engage in leaving reviews for the products that we sell to Amazon.’ We will ask them to take down.”
This is just the latest controversy in the product’s short life. At launch, Bosworth felt it necessary to clarify concerns about whether Facebook was using the product to listen to calls and collect data. And while apparently not a calculated effort on Facebook’s part, it does leave one wondering about internal fallout surrounding the product’s negative response.