Facebook Portal Is Now Mildly More Useful

Those crisp displays are deffo gonna be used for porn.
Those crisp displays are deffo gonna be used for porn.
Photo: Sam Rutherford (Gizmodo)

There’s a lot of issues with Facebook Portal, but one of them was the lack of apps and web browser at launch. Privacy concerns aside, you just couldn’t really make use of the smart display aside from its cool-yet-creepy video calls. Today, Facebook is rolling out some updates to fix that.


For starters, ABC News and CNN apps are adding news content to the device, and iHeartRadio for in-call music sharing. Facebook is also adding Instant Games, with titles that include Battleship, Disney Tsum Tsum, Draw Something, Shake It Up - Poker Dice, Sudoku, SuperBaseball, and Words with Friends. It’s also added an additional manual mode for its smart, follow-you-wherever-you-go camera, new holiday-themed Story Time titles and AR effects.

But the real star is a new Chromium-based web browser. It’ll be similar in use to Google Chrome or Apple’s Safari. According to Facebook, you’ll be able to stream live video and content from sites like Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, CNN, ESPN, and Twitch. (However Netflix, HBO Now/Go, and Hulu won’t work). Overall, this is a good thing and makes it more competitive with Amazon’s Echo Show, which added browsing via Amazon Silk and Firefox earlier this year.

But this is the internet in 2018, and adding a web browser to the Portal, which advertisements like to show off being used by for all ages, means that the perverts in your house also have a new way to use that beautiful display on the Portal+ to stream porn. Aside from setting a screen lock passcode, there’s no other security measures or parental controls in place for the Portal. When asked, Facebook said it “encourage[s] parents to supervise the use of Portal by people in their household.” Good luck with that.

Consumer tech reporter by day, danger noodle by night. No, I'm not the K-Pop star.



Facebook Portal. For people look at a cheap Android tablet and think “Like that, but less portable and with privacy invasion.”