Facebook wants to listen in on your TV and music

Facebook wants to listen in on your TV and music

Image of headphones courtesy of ShutterstockSay, you don’t mind if Facebook sticks one of your earbuds into its data-mining cranium, do you?

As Facebook said in a message posted Thursday, over the next few weeks, it’s introducing an optional music, TV and movies recognition feature in the US for Android and iOS gadgets – or what the praiseworthy Register calls “fondleslabs.”

The feature will be off by default. If a user gives it permission to slurp up sound, it will tap into the mic on a mobile device and eavesdrop on whatever’s playing in the background.

The feature will then grind through its recognition machinery to identify the song, movie or TV show you’re listening to.

Facebook didn’t say anything about listening in on background noise, including private conversations.

But its Help Center says that recognition may fail if the room’s too loud or a commercial’s on, so the Zuckerbergians are apparently only matching input against the millions of recorded songs and TV shows currently broadcasting on over 150 channels that it’s got in its data banks, as opposed to getting all NSA-ish about things.

Should you choose to accept this data-mining mission, you’ll see an audio icon moving on the screen when you write a status update.

If Facebook identifies a match, you can then choose to add the song, TV show or movie to your post.

If you’re listening to a song, it will give you the option of sharing a 30-second preview with your friends in a status update, all without typing.

For TV shows, your News Feed will highlight the season and episode you’re watching, so you can talk to your friends about Game of Thrones without giving away any spoilers.

Facebook says the posts will be like any others: users can choose who can see them.

Plus, you can turn the feature off at any time by clicking the audio icon in the top right of the screen.

No sound is stored, and you’ll always get to choose whether you post to your friends.

It’s not the first for technology like this. There are plenty of song recognition applications out there, for one.

But do we really want to trust Facebook, keeper of one of the deepest mines of personal data in cyberland, with yet another aspect of our lives to squeeze for ad dollars?

Here’s Naked Security’s list of stories about Facebook and its history of privacy.

Happily, the decision is yours!

Image of headphones courtesy of Shutterstock.