Facebook Wants to Listen to What You Hear

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A new optional feature of the Facebook smartphone app turns on your phone's microphone so Facebook can identify and share the music or TV show you're listening to or viewing.

As if we weren’t already sharing enough uninteresting information on Facebook, the company has come up with yet another new way for you to share updates with your friends.

It explains: “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.”

Once the microphone is turned on, Facebook tries to identify what song or show is being shared with it. Facebook assures us that it can’t analyze background noise or conversation, and that there’s no record kept of the sounds it hears. If it can find a match for the song or show, Facebook says, you get to decide if you want to share that information in your post.

Facebook adds:

If you share music, your friends can see a 30-second preview of the song.  For TV shows, the story in News Feed will highlight the specific season and episode you’re watching, so you can avoid any spoilers and join in conversations with your friends after you’ve caught up.

Apparently the initial announcement about this feature caused confusion. Facebook updated its explanation to clarify some incorrect perceptions. Here are two:

Myth: The feature listens to and stores your conversations.

Fact: Nope, no matter how interesting your conversation, this feature does not store sound or recordings. Facebook isn’t listening to or storing your conversations.

Myth: Facebook is always listening using your microphone.

Fact: Nope, if you choose to turn this feature on, it will only use your microphone (for 15 seconds) when you’re actually writing a status update to try and match music and TV.

Would you be interested in using this new feature, or do you think it’s kind of creepy? Tell us below or on our  — yes! – Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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