Ok, that headline may be a bit harsh, but Facebook is rolling out a new smartphone app that will be able to record all background noises, from music and television to a conversation in ear shot. The idea is to give users the chance to share even more about their lives, and Facebook feels that literally recording them is the best way to do it.
The optional recording setting allows you to tag your surroundings as an activity – something as broad as, “listening to music” to a very specific “watching Game of Thrones on my mother’s couch.” Ryan Tate of the magazine Wired describes it as a fluid connection between our everyday lives and pop culture.
“The aim was to remove every last bit of friction from the way we reference bits of pop culture on the social network,” Tate wrote.
For some this will be terrifying, for others another chance to share their every move. But it’s optional, so those with a tight grip on what little is left of their privacy can continue to keep their every move to themselves. Those who do use it can choose when to turn it on and off (it only works when you are writing a status update on your mobile phone apps – the program will not work on a browser). Tiny blue bars will appear on the screen, signaling the mic is on. From there, it’s your move.
Facebook says the microphone can only record what it hears – it will not be collecting data, nor will it post against your will.
“If you don’t choose to post and the feature detects a match, we don’t store match information except in an anonymized form that is not associated with you,” says Facebook spokesperson Momo Zhou.
What they really want is to be a significant real-time competitor to Twitter, having status updates that read exactly what you are doing, when you are doing it, and having the correct information to match.
“With TV shows, we’ll actually know the exact season and episode number you’re watching,” says Zhou. “We built that to prevent spoilers.”