Just how much control should an app have over your life? Well, some time in the second half of May this year, we brought you word that Facebook would rely on Shazam-like technology in order to figure out just what you are listening to or watching with the help of your mobile device’s microphone. Not too many people were thrilled with the idea, especially when it does seem to involve one’s privacy. Well, there has been speculation that has gone on, touting that such “passive noise” could be stashed away on Facebook’s servers before being sold to advertisers at a later time. In order to quell such fears, Facebook says that this is not possible at all, citing an encrypted ‘Audio Fingerprint’ system that comes as part of the design.
Do take note, however, that this particular service happens to be completely optional, and it can be turned off with but a simple click of a button. Facebook did give an official explanation on this feature, “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. That means if you want to share that you’re listening to your favorite Beyoncé track or watching the season premiere of Game of Thrones, you can do it quickly and easily, without typing.”
There has been a petition that picked up more than half a million users who have signed a form against the update. Still, that has not been enough to stop Facebook from rolling out the ‘passive noise’ feature on Android-powered devices, which goes to show that Facebook has great faith in their product. The Facebook app for iOS has not been updated yet, although this feature ought to be part of the deal down the road, alongside the Windows Phone platform to boot. [Press Release]