Coming Soon To Facebook Status Updates: Passive Listening

Casey Johnston at Ars Technica:

Facebook has added a new feature to its mobile app as of Wednesday that uses a phone’s microphone to identify ambient TV shows, music, or movies and include them in status updates.

So the idea is that if you’re listening to Kenny G or watching Game of Thrones, you can instantly post and appropriately tag whatever it is. This ambient microphone use is only switched on while you’re writing a status update, but check this screenshot:

Facebook with some creepy new passive listening options

‘No’ is not in Facebook’s dialogue box vocabulary, apparently.

There’s also this fairly creepy post by Facebook explaining the new feature:

If you leave the feature on, you will see the audio icon move and attempt to detect a match when you’re writing a status update. No sound is stored and you’ll always get to choose whether you post to your friends.

It’d be interesting to know if ‘no sound is stored’ means that absolutely all the data is ditched if you decide not to post it. Or, is the metadata match record for Kenny G stored in some kind of Facebook ‘matched-but-not-shared’ column in their Big Data Vault Of Everything They Know About You?

I guess there’s an easy way to find out when this feature launches — listen to a bunch of Kenny G during status updates (but don’t post the match), then watch your ads on Facebook very carefully.

If you suddenly start getting Facebook ads for saxophone reeds, Enya on iTunes or chamomile teas, then you have your answer.

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