Facebook Wants to Live On Your Face

With its new Smart Glasses, the social media giant raises a whole new set of privacy concerns

Stephen Moore
OneZero
Published in
4 min readSep 14, 2021

--

Photo: Facebook

If you’re an avid user of Facebook, it likely knows you better than you know yourself. It has access to your data, your friend’s list, your memories, your messages, and a record of everything you’ve ever clicked on, commented on or scrolled past on the platform throughout your history on it.

Not content with the data pool it has built (read: stolen from unwitting users), Facebook now wants to see what you see by living in front of your eyes.

It’s hard not to be cynical about the launch of Ray-Ban Stories, the $299 Smart Glass collaboration between Ray-Bans and Facebook. A whole host of concerns immediately spring to mind; users will become even more distracted and disconnected from society, inappropriate use, more ‘glassholes’ (a term developed after the Google Glasses project) and of course, privacy, both for the user and the general public. The company has a bad track record on that front, and allowing them complete access to everything you look at raises many red flags.

If the glass project seems familiar, that’s because it’s not the first attempt by a company to try and put technology onto our faces. In 2013, Google launched Google Glasses with a price tag of $1500, and despite a promo video that caused a big splash, the response was hell no. In 2018, Snapchat re-launched Spectacles, trying to learn from its failure in 2016, which resulted in a $40 million loss, and again the response was hell no. Only 0.08% of Snapchat users purchased the glasses, and the failure led to VP of Hardware Mark Randall quitting. The company hasn’t given up, announcing a 4th-gen concept earlier this year that will lean fully into the AR experience, though it’s far from mass-market ready. Now Facebook is entering the fray, pimping the Ray-Ban glasses with a tiny camera that can take photos and videos, a microphone for answering calls and playing podcasts, and a small touchpad on the side of the frames for volume control and play/pause functionality. It’s important to note that these feeds don’t stream directly to Facebook; instead, the content is stored in a phone app that connects to the glasses via Bluetooth. This does afford the user some privacy…

--

--

Stephen Moore
OneZero

Writer, editor, part-time furniture maker. Head here for my tech and biz newsletter, Trend Mill: https://www.trend-mill.com