Facebook Has New Microphone Application

Facebook

Facebook has announced the arrival of their newest application, the Facebook microphone. This new feature will turn on the user’s microphone and record sounds that are coming from their background. The app will then convert the sounds into a status update which can be deleted, or it will be stored under the “Feelings” tab. Some may find this app appealing but there is anticipation for the large number of users who may feel that their privacy is being violated.

This new feature is optional and will only record sound if the app is activated by the user. Facebook has confirmed that no sound will be stored or shared to Facebook’s servers, however the data will be converted into code and saved. According to Facebook Spokesperson Momo Zhou, once the data is transformed into code it cannot be reversed. The storage of the information will allow Facebook to know what type of content users are listening to or watching.

The unknowns of where this stored data will go and with whom it may be shared is what is most likely to concern users as Facebook has not yet stated how the information will be used. Another potential privacy violation of this app is the sounds that are recorded. Sounds from anyone and anything in the background may be picked up, including voices of people who are not the direct user of the app.

This feature cannot be turned on through using Facebook on a browser, only through the Apple iOS and Android apps. Users will know that the app has been activated when blue bars appear on the screen stating that the microphone has been turned on, and when it is in use it will state that it is “matching” the sounds it picks up. Facebook’s microphone app will pick up on songs, television shows or movies that the user is listening to or watching. According to Aryeh Selekman, a Facebook Product Manager, the app will be able to distinguish the specific song, show or movie from over 100 stations. It will convert the sounds that were picked up into a status update which the user can delete at their discretion. For any songs that the microphone picks up and shares, the user’s friends will be able to preview the song directly through the feed without having to leave the page. Users have the choice of when they would like to activate and deactivate this app, if at all.

The announcement of this new feature comes at an interesting time in terms of user privacy. Facebook recently announced that the privacy settings for first-time Facebook users will be defaulted to “Friends,” rather than the previous “Public” default. As a result of this change, new users will be given the option of who they would like to share their information with as they create their first post. If unanswered, their Facebook page will default to “Friends.” The company stated that this tool is meant to put the control in the hands of the people, allowing them to choose those with whom they would like to share. Facebook’s new microphone application is expected to launch on Wednesday and initially it will only be available to users in the United States.

By: Sarah Temori

Sources:

Forbes
IB Times
IB Times
Mashable
CNN

6 Responses to "Facebook Has New Microphone Application"

  1. TylerRose Author   July 12, 2014 at 7:39 am

    It’s an update to the existing app. It wants access to microphone AND device history. And it wouldn’t let me decline last night when it popped up. My choice was to accept or uninstall. I uninstalled. I don’t need the mobile app. I can upload pics when I get home.

    Reply
  2. Sarah Temori   May 29, 2014 at 9:04 am

    ***Correction*** Yes rafagon726 you are correct, this is NOT a separate app it is a new feature. Please excuse this error.

    Reply
  3. Father of all Bombs   May 29, 2014 at 6:46 am

    This.. will… be.. horrible
    THERE’S SOMETHING CALLED PRIVACY!

    Reply
  4. Sarah Temori   May 28, 2014 at 11:36 am

    *** Correction: Yes Rafagon726, you are correct, the microphone is NOT a separate app, it is a feature that will be added to the Facebook app. Please excuse this error.

    Reply
  5. rafagon726   May 28, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Is the author “Sarah Temori” sure that this is a separate app, as she claims in the first sentence? Is it possible that it will be an update to the existing (main) Facebook app?

    Reply
  6. Terry Green   May 28, 2014 at 8:58 am

    Interesting that the think people will be comforted by only having the transcription recorded and not the audio. What if the (incorrect) transcription is incriminating? No way for you to prove your innocence…

    Reply

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