Facebook unveiled its first pair of smart glasses on Thursday, created in collaboration with eyewear company Ray-Ban.
The glasses, called “Ray-Ban Stories,” allow people to listen to music, take calls or capture photos and short videos using a button on the glasses or through hands-free voice commands. People with a Facebook account can download the photos instantly and can share them across its social platforms. The starting price for a pair of shades is $299.
The glasses have already raised concerns about privacy implications and Facebook’s handling of user data. The tech company has previously been criticized for how it handles user data many times, though it denies it would access content recorded by the smart-glasses without consent.
Facebook also said the glasses contain an LED light on the side that turns on when the camera is on, a feature it claims will protect people’s privacy by “notifying them” when they are being filmed.
Still, many are not convinced.
In a review, BuzzFeed News reporter Katie Notopulous pointed out that one could simply cover the LED light with tape, though it is a violation of Facebook’s terms of service. The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern reported that many of the people she recorded while wearing the glasses weren’t aware until she told them.
The consensus is that, while cool and hip in Ray-Bans style, these glasses could do more harm than good…
I am not 100% against smart glasses, even Facebook-branded ones. Someday we will see a variety of consumer-grade smart glasses that are fun, useful, and safe. But that day is not today, and privacy advocates are right to be wary.— Tiffany C. Li (@tiffanycli) September 9, 2021
.@Facebook @ray_ban say their new glasses are “designed for privacy”.— Joe Westby (@JoeWestby) September 9, 2021
On top of the obvious privacy threat from camera glasses, here’s all the data that Facebook harvests through the glasses’ dedicated app - i.e. a lot.
Facebook is the opposite of privacy. pic.twitter.com/BQ1BdPc0Nh
There should be laws against this kind of surveillance. Too many innocent people lose privacy. https://t.co/opfSIA7vwj— Roger McNamee (@Moonalice) September 9, 2021
Ad-savvy Campaign US readers agree: they do not want to be tracked by Facebook — especially on their faces!
Facebook and Ray-Ban are rolling out smart glasses. Would you wear them?— Campaign US (@CampaignLiveUS) September 9, 2021