Facebook has released an update for Portal devices which will allow you to disable the Watch Together feature when calling in Household Mode. This update follows a BuzzFeed News article that criticized Facebook's inexcusable oversight of not providing an off switch for this feature.
You can watch music videos and funny clips together with your distant family members or friends through Watch Together. You can choose a video from Facebook's selection and it will be presented simultaneously on your Portal as well as on the device of your friend, whether that be a tablet, phone, or Portal.
While Watch Together sounds great, it is not ideal for parents who want their children to be safe from online videos. Everybody in the home can access the Portal device when it is in Household Mode. While the Watch Together feature is not visible in Household Mode it will appear during calls. BuzzFeed News pointed out that this can lead to disaster as children can grab the device and start a call. They can then begin watching videos together.
There is no way to disable Watch Together in Household Mode at the moment. This may leave some parents frustrated, but it's about to change. Andrew Bosworth (Vice President of Facebook Reality Labs) sent out a tweet in response to BuzzFeed News. He stated that Facebook is currently working on a solution.
Portal devices can only be used by families together. They are not intended for children without parental supervision. We are launching the ability to disable Watch Together in calls via Household Mode. This will be available in December. Boz (@boztank) October 19, 2021
In December, users will be able to disable Watch Together when they call in Household Mode. It is a bit disappointing that this feature didn't exist in the first place. This seems like an oversight that should never have been made, especially since Portal Go is being offered to children. It is child-friendly. Why does it require that you have a Facebook account in order to use it? And why doesn't it come with more parental controls right out of the box.