Facebook’s ‘Listening In’ Feature

As concerns with our everyday privacy – or lack thereof-rise with the advancement of technology, Facebook’s recent announcement is that their recent feature is going to make use of the Microphones of their users who access Facebook via their Smartphones, to allow this listening in feature.

Basically put, Facebook are going to make the default setting so that they can access microphones and listen in to their users, their reasoning is so that if you for example are listening to a certain track or watching a certain television programme, you do not have to type that you are doing so as it will be picked up by your microphone automatically.

Already, as concerns over the impact this feature will have on users’ privacy, over 500,000 have signed a petition in a bid to rid of the feature before it is implemented.

Although we have been alerted that it is an ‘optional way to share and discover music, TV and movies’, it has been viewed by many as echoing Big Brother, it’s a somewhat unnerving prospect that anonymous entities could be listening in to our home life if we don’t de-select the default setting.

The backlash to the feature has been countered by Facebook stressing that: it is an optional feature, our conversations will not be recorded and in fact any sounds recorded will not be linked to the individual user, just stored as a digital fingerprint and finally, that it is being implemented to attract advertisers and to help Facebook become recognised as a forum for TV and musical discussion.

It’s a tricky subject, as technology advances, our lives become more mainstream so advertising takes advantage of the Social Media we use to target us. It could be argued that this benefits us, helping us to find the products we’re looking for, or that it persuades us to make purchases that we really could have done without.

Despite Facebook making it clear that they do not want to record conversations courtesy of the new feature, users are still in uproar about the prospect which says quite a lot about how little we trust Facebook and the listening in feature with our information.