Facebook's most invasive feature

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Last week, Facebook rolled out a new update to users in the USA (soon to be rolled out to Australian users) which allows Facebook to listen to a person’s surroundings via their smartphone microphone when they are posting a new status.

The new feature will use recorded audio to tag statuses with what the user is watching or listening to. For example, if you were listening to The Beatles whilst posting a status, Facebook would give you the option to tag your post with “Listening to The Beatles.” The feature to tag what you’re currently doing isn’t new, but this new update will make it automatic.

Users are concerned this ‘Big Brother move’ by Facebook is far too invasive, especially considering it only saves the few seconds it takes to type out what you are listening to or watching. The benefits for Facebook on the other hand are massive, as it will provide it with a lot more information which it can use to market music and television advertisements to its users.

US Facebook users have reacted to the new update with an online petition against the feature which has already received 600,000 online signatures.

Facebook has responded with a statement declaring that the audio recorded is not stored, nor is the data gathered tied to a specific users account, and is an optional feature.

Facebook has explained the feature with the following:

“Here’s how it works: if you choose to turn the feature on, when you write a status update, the app converts any sound into an audio fingerprint on your phone. This fingerprint is sent to our servers to try and match it against our database of audio and TV fingerprints. By design, we do not store fingerprints from your device for any amount of time. And in any event, the fingerprints can’t be reversed into the original audio because they don’t contain enough information.”

How do you feel about the new feature? Do you think Facebook is going too far or users are overreacting to a feature that is, after all, optional?

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Written by ryanbo

23 Comments

Total Comments: 23
  1. 0
    0

    Big Brother gone MAD.

  2. 0
    0

    If Facebook won’t change this feature, then simply don’t ever tag your posts. Then you don’t need to have it turned on.

  3. 0
    0

    Its bad enough when the elected government encroaches on your privacy let alone a private organisation. The practice of private businesses invading ones personal space like this should be banned by law or at least only permitted by a user opt in system.

  4. 0
    0

    And yes – they have gone too far.

  5. 0
    0

    Makes you wonder what this corporation will do next.

  6. 0
    0

    Facebook users complaining about privacy. That’s funny!

    • 0
      0

      Why funny Frank? We choose to release information about ourselves and to who we release it to. This change is unrequested and is by a organisation whom we have not given the right to obtain personal information and distribute it other than the information we provide via personal input not via spying.

    • 0
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      Yes Frank, I get your point and I have to agree – it is funny and Pickles – you need to look into the process a little deeper. Facebook could care less about what you think about your rights!

    • 0
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      Commercially and politically there is a race to compile a list of potential customers, voters etc. The concept is to collect as much information about the people on your list or lists as possible. Also to grow the lists as quickly as possible. The way one achieves this is by rewarding people for giving up this information. It may be simply emotional reward. Yourlifechoices is no different. Did you not get an email recently asking for a heap of personal information? Does anyone read before clicking “I Agree” to terms and conditions? Once compiled, these lists are priceless although they can be sold for truck loads of cash! I get an email from Coles every couple of days asking me when I’m coming back to buy those special sardines that I like. Australia Post used to make a few bucks selling there lists but that was before computer programs became highly skilled. These people make Australia Post look like Mother Therese.

  7. 0
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    Another thin end deftly inserted into an intimate place. What is it about American culture that gives people and corporations the idea that they have a right to do anything to anyone with impunity? And not just Americans, of course, but they lead the charge all the way. Yes, they’ve gone too far – again; they have to be stopped.

  8. 0
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    Still seems to be a lot of confusion for folks about privacy on Facebook. There are privacy settings to allow you to set who can see what you are saying and doing. Mine is set to friends only for everything so the only folks looking at my content are those I’ve agreed to. That said Facebook can obviously see everything – this is a step way too far. Where’s the link to the petition?

  9. 0
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    I blame Tony Abbott. I’m sure he did it.

  10. 0
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    We will not store it!
    We vill not use it to maka da money!
    We vil not! We vil not! Ya,Nein Ya Nein….well maybe….but not yet!
    Vee never tell fibs!
    Vee are not doing this to make more money!
    No NO NO! This is for you free!
    And all the little piggies fly by waving and grinning…..
    So unbelievable…so not cool…..electronic invasion is a coming…….watch out!

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