Facebook is listening to you watch TV – has it gone too far?

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We all know Facebook is data hungry – it wants to know everything about you. But with the latest update to the Facebook app, is it crossing a line? Facebook is going to start listening to you.

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The way it will work is like the music identification app Shazam – which can detect what song you’re listening to just by hearing a snippet of the sound. Which is very useful if you’re out somewhere and hear a song and want to identify it.

What Facebook is planning is similar: when you post a status update, as you type it the Facebook app will switch on your microphone and listen to what is going on. If it can identify something – be it a song or TV show, it will then offer to mention it in your post at the end – like how Facebook does “moods” at the end now.

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Facebook claim that if you identify the media, your friends will be able to listen to a 30 second clip of the song – or if its a TV show, they will be shown what episode you’re watching, for spoiler-avoiding purposes.

Whilst it is undoubtedly a clever piece of technology you can’t help but wonder… is Facebook going too far? Even if you don’t have concerns about NSA overreach do you really want Facebook listening in on you? How long before Facebook starts advertising based on conversations we’ve had in real life?

Whilst the company are keen to point out the privacy settings and so on, given how difficult it is to manage privacy settings on there, how many users will just post without thinking? For example, did you know that Facebook already records of everything you type, even if you don’t post? And have you noticed the GPS on your phone always briefly comes on whenever you open Facebook?

Do you really want all of your cool and sophisticated friends knowing that you’ve been watching Power Rangers on Netflix?

James O’Malley