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Facebook Kills ‘Hey Facebook’ Voice Command for Portal Amid Customer ‘Confusion’

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Facebook has quietly abandoned the phrase “Hey Facebook” as a way for customers of its Portal video-chat device to start a conversation with a voice-activated virtual “AI assistant,” according to an internal memo viewed by The Information. The shift came after customers indicated they were confused by the phrase “Hey Facebook” and it was hurting usage of the device.

The team involved with the device determined that before the company expands the virtual assistant to other apps including WhatsApp and Instagram, it needed to find a new “brand” for the assistant that doesn’t only evoke the Facebook app. News of the change of heart coincides with a report by The Verge Tuesday night that Facebook plans to change its corporate name. Both decisions appear motivated by Facebook’s desire to convey that its company is much bigger than just the Facebook app, which has generated a long series of scandals.

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