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Facebook is working on a rival to Amazon's Alexa

The social network would enter an already crowded field of voice assistants.

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Facebook is working on its own voice assistant.

CNET

Facebook is working on a voice assistant that could be used in its Portal video chat device.

"We are working to develop voice and AI assistant technologies that may work across our family of AR/VR products including Portal, Oculus and future products," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The social network would face stiff competition from tech giants that already have voice assistants, like Amazon, Google and Apple. 

CNBC, citing several people familiar with the matter, said Facebook has been working on the new voice assistant since early 2018 but it's "unclear how exactly Facebook envisions people using the assistant." Facebook's Portal currently taps into Amazon's Alexa. 

Facebook employees in Redmond, Washington, led by Ira Snyder, director of AR/VR and Facebook Assistant, are reportedly leading the effort to build a new AI assistant.

This isn't the first time Facebook has tried to build a virtual assistant. Last year, the company shut down a chat assistant called M that was used in Facebook's messaging app. 

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Originally published April 17, 11:54 a.m. PT.
Update, 12:49 p.m. PT: Adds Facebook comment.