Possible Privacy Nightmare: Facebook Wants to “Listen In” to Music and TV for Status Updates

Facebook tries to calm down fears about the new feature

Facebook is turning out to be a little creepy these days and it will start asking for users’ permission to tap into the microphone of their phones and listen to whatever is going on around them, be it music, or the television.

Why? Because it wants to help out all those social people that are too lazy to update their own status with whatever song they’re listening to or show they’re watching. Furthermore, it’s also supposed to provide a 30-second preview of it to friends of that user.

The update will be rolled out to the Android and iOS apps in the coming weeks and it’s going to be switched off by default, which should alleviate the worries of users concerned about their privacy.

Basically, it’s going to be very much like Shazam, the app that will identify songs playing around you when activated.

The social network justifies the addition by saying that over the past year, people have shared over 5 billion status updates that include feelings and activities, which helped spark conversations with friends in a more visual way.

“Today, we’re making those conversations quicker and easier by introducing a new way to share and discover music, TV and movies. When writing a status update – if you choose to turn the feature on – you’ll have the option to use your phone’s microphone to identify what song is playing or what show or movie is on TV,” Facebook explains in the announcement blog post.

This is how the new feature works
This is how the new feature works
Basically, you’ll be able to share information about the tracks you’re listening to or the fact that you’re watching a TV show without actually doing any of the typing yourself.

In order to turn on the new feature, you have to tap the icon, watch it move for a few seconds as it tries to identify the sounds around you and share the content once it does. You can, of course, choose not to post the update after all.

The feature sounds like a nightmare for privacy advocates everywhere – the world’s largest social network, after gaining access to your friends, photos, preferences and other content now wants to listen in to the world around you.

Facebook explains, however, that when the feature is turned off, it won’t listen in to anyone and that even the snippets it listens to when detecting the audio feeds around you are not stored anywhere. Once more, the feature will be turned off by default, so you’ll have to activate it yourself, so if you don’t want it, you can just ignore it.


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