Facebook Wants To Eavesdrop Using Your Phone’s Microphone

Facebook has made some major strides in protecting its users from an overreaching government, but that doesn’t mean all is well between privacy advocates and the social media giant.

Some are expressing concern over Facebook’s planned feature for its mobile app on iOS and Android. The plan is to use the microphone on phones of users who opt-in to the feature eavesdrop on users while they fill out status updates. The program will listen to songs and TV shows, try to identify them in a “Shazam-like” fashion, and include it in the user’s update.

The announcement of the new feature also comes as Facebook decided to use a dinosaur, i.e. the classification of animal that has been extinct for roughly 65 million years, to help privacy minded users find the right settings for them. Facebook insists that isn’t a harbinger of things to come.

Facebook is stressing that the feature is completely optional and needs to be opted in to be activated. They also claim that no audio is sent to Facebook servers. Instead, they say that the audio is turned into code on the user’s device and that is sent to Facebook. They also assure the public that the code cannot be turned back into audio. That may very well be, but the continual advancement of Facebook and other social media sites prodding into our lives under the guise of streamlined social sharing is a troubling one. We will have to wait and see how many people trust Facebook enough to give them access to their microphones, simply so they don’t have to type “I’m watching Game of Thrones.”

[Photo Credit: Raymond Bryson]



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