Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) Allays Privacy Fears Over Its Virtual Assistant M


Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) sees a future where M will become the virtual assistant superpower – and that is not so far from today. The company is projecting M as a better alternative to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s Siri, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Cortana and Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Google Now. However, Facebook also recently sought to dispel privacy fears regarding the use of M, with Facebook executive David Marcus saying that M won’t be creepy.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is currently testing M, its version of a digital assistant, among a select group of subscribers in the San Francisco Bay Area. According to Facebook, M uses hybrid technology in the sense that it combines human power with artificial intelligence to support digital automation. However, the company is working to scale the artificial intelligence element of M to ensure that it can be widely deployed. That is because the company cannot afford to hire real people to supervise the operations of M for each of its 1.5 billion subscribers.

With M, Facebook is entering a market that is rapidly becoming crowded, given that the likes of Alphabet, Apple and Microsoft among others already have their versions of digital assistants. To beat the competition, Facebook is trying to build more power into M, hoping that it will emerge as the superpower of the virtual assistant world.

Proactive digital assistant

For example, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is working to make M more intelligent than the competition in the sense that it can complete functions without the input of users. Think about M automatically booking a flight or ordering food and booking a table at a restaurant on your behalf even before you realize you needed those jobs done.

Privacy concerns

However, to become such a proactive digital assistant tool, M will need to learn so much information about you over time. Interestingly, that is where the problem comes in for most people – those who are concerned about their privacy. To allay privacy fears, Facebook’s Marcus recently said that the issue of M becoming creepy does emerge because the service will give back whatever it learns from the information obtained from users. According to Marcus, a service becomes a privacy concern if it obtains information from people and doesn’t give back anything in return.

Neha Gupta

Neha Gupta has been in the financial space for over six years now. Gupta earned her MBA degree from Symbiosis Centre of Distance Learning in 2009 and her passion for finance led her to pursue Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course. She has successfully completed Level II of her CFA. She is a veteran in article writing, which is depicted in her numerous pieces published on SeekingAlpha, Nextiphonenews, InsiderMonkey, MarketWatch, and Techinsider. Her crisp and eloquent writing finds its best place in Researchcows, where emphasis is given on developing rich content for various websites, products, business plans, trainings, and book writing.

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