back to article Facebook wants to LISTEN IN on the songs and vids playing in YOUR living room

Facebook is rolling out a creepy new feature that will - with a user's permission - tap into the mic on their mobile device and listen into music and television playing in the background. It will then post a status on that person's Facebook page, flagging up a song, say, and providing a 30-second preview of it to friends of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long before NSA wants a piece of the action and demands that the feature will be turned on as default?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They probably aready mandate that such a feature should built in.

      Big Brother is Listening to you.

    2. Justice

      The UK government would insist on an 'opt-in default'...and probably not tell us about it.

  2. RISC OS

    I'm pretty sure that if the person making the post wants people to know what they are listening to they would just mention it or post specifically about it.

    Now it's opt in... but how long before they change everything and make it stay recording until you opt out?

    Maybe the NSAs profilers just need this kind of info to geta better picture about you...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ambient listening

    networks already support a feature called ambient listening, which allows someone on the network to enable the microphone on a phone and listen to the audio from that, with no indication on the phone that this is going on.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ambient listening

      The only place I can see that mentioned is TETRA mobile networks used by the Police, ambulance service etc... It could be that there is a corresponding phone network feature with the same name but it could be that you've got the wrong end of the stick....

      Any mobile network gurus that can shed some light on this?

      1. Yugguy

        Re: ambient listening

        TETRA is on its way out as it cannot handle the data rates that the emergency services now require. At least in the UK anyway.

    2. Mage Silver badge

      Re: ambient listening

      Only if you have installed some stupid app. I worked in Telecom / DECT / GSM/ 3G etc for 20 years and never heard of such a feature on Public Networks.

      It can be fitted of course by miscreants. Such as "infinity bug" on Landlines. Or Facebook app.

  4. Grant Mitchell

    But I don't have a broadcast license...

    Sorry Facebook... but that song has, you know, a copyright and I don't have a public viewing/broadcast license to let you listen to them.

    Bummer, huh.

  5. dervheid

    Two words Zuk;




    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Two words Zuk;

      ZUK OFF more like.

    2. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: Two words Zuk;

      How about two words and a letter?

      Arkell v Pressdram

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Maybe it's just my optimism, but the 'ideas' FB seems to bang out with feverish frequency lately smack more than a little of desperation. Most of the people likely to find 'features' like this one acceptable won't have enough money for the advertisers to care about, and the sheer creepiness of this ought to convince plenty of others the fun bit of the party's over and its time to leave.

    Sampling your mike isn't exactly a good fit with Zuckerbergs loudly professed anti govt snooping stance either. If it came to a toss between trusting the NSA or FB, FB would only edge it because they aren't yet legally able to send armed men to haul you off for a bit of casual torture.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Zuckerbergs loudly professed anti govt snooping stance either.

      He doesn't like competition. That's his job!

  7. TrishaD

    Time to dig out the 'Very Best of Mongolian Throat Warbling' CD ....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Any relation

      to Raymond "luxury" Yacht...

      1. NoneSuch

        Re: Any relation

        I think you mean Throat Wobbler Mangrove...

        1. g e

          Re: Any relation

          Will be interesting to see what it can recognise...

          Will be impressed if it knows here Come the Fleas (White Noise)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Any relation


          Yeah, but it was close enough for any python fans to make the association. As you clearly did!!!!

          Point proved!!!

    2. Montreal Sean

      TrishaD, I see you throat warbling cd.

      And raise you one Vogon poetry CD.

      Zuck on that FB!

  8. Martin

    I'm getting old....

    If I'm listening to music, or watching TV, I don't find it necessary to tell anyone else what I'm doing. I don't, frankly, understand why anyone else would be interested.

    Just one more reason not to have Facebook.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid idea.

    Facebook seem to want to grab more data about you than Google.

  10. Yugguy

    Reason number 10 x 10 raised to the power of infinity added to my list of why I will never use Facebook

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I only have one reason - I don't have any friends.

  11. frank ly Silver badge

    I'd play Lords Of Acid tracks at high volume

    It's been a while, I must dig them out of my 'library' disk.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: I'd play Lords Of Acid tracks at high volume

      Will it be safe to play Extreme Noise Terror?

  12. Fihart

    Presumably would also monitor speech

    So if you mentioned fancying a bite, ads for restaurants could pop up on your screen.

    Getting jiggy, ads for condoms.

    Mention politics and the Stasi roll up at your door.

    1. Keith 21

      Re: Presumably would also monitor speech

      "Mention politics and the Stasi roll up at your door."

      Sadly we are pretty much there already, if you dare to post something less than glowing about UKIP on Twitter then they call the police to visit you and ask you to take it down...

      And given recent election results showing our "wonderful" fellow countrymen seem determined to vote for these racist, sexist, homophobic,bigoted nazis, it's only going to get worse.

  13. Amorous Cowherder

    Best of luck Zuck

    I don't have any mics or webcams on my PC as I can't trust any of you bastards ( or my kids! ) not to turn them on without me knowing!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, the irony..

    Google did Streetview, but it's Facebook which tries to go the whole Home View hog.

    (and yes, I know the Germans did that sketch first but I couldn't find a version with English subtitles).

  15. Wokstation

    Mission creep and opting out

    Bed down this idea, then change the T&C so it can listen for spoken keywords to "serve you more relevant content", those around the Facebooker may not have consented to having personal data processed. But oh so handy for the spooks.

    Likely? Who knows. Possible? Unfortunately.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Considering farcebook is one of the biggest potential sources for NSA/GCHQ potential data-mining, i can see that from the outset this system would be back ended with some form of ECHELON esk keyword scanning system.

    Considering it will keep waking up the mic to listing in i cant see that its going to do mobile devices batterys much good either...

    Google already though up a system like this long long ago and dropped it (supposedly).. due to the back lash.. <-- Reg Story in 2006

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Since you cannot record a phone call without a legal requirement to inform the other party that you are doing so, presumably anyone running this application would be required to tell everyone within audio range that they were being monitored and get their explicit permission to be spied upon.

    Do the morons who think up these stupid ideas have no conception of civilised behaviour?

    Apparently not.

    1. Richie Hindle

      [citation needed]

      "you cannot record a phone call without a legal requirement to inform the other party"

      Not true in either UK or federal US law. As long as one party knows about the recording, it's allowed (with some reasonable restrictions).

      1. David L Webb

        Re: [citation needed]

        "Not true in either UK or federal US law. As long as one party knows about the recording, it's allowed (with some reasonable restrictions)."

        One party to a phone call can record it for their own use without informing the other party but not if the information is to be made available to a third-party. In addition a business may be able to monitor calls made to their employees for a restricted set of purposes without informing the other party. However this would fall outside those provisions and would fall foul of the Regulation Investigatory Powers Act.

  18. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    False positives....

    If they made this mandatory I'd purposely listen to Black Lace every time I post. Just for the hell of it...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I got Soundhound

    and no FB. Good enough for me.

  20. Geezheeztall

    Those app posts should be interesting...

    "Joe Punter appears to be listening to the soundtrack of American Booty.

    Buy this porn and other titles at

    Like Comment Share "

  21. ratfox Silver badge

    You are listening to…

    …4'33'' (John Cage)

  22. Simon Ward

    Time to dig out the Merzbow CDs, I reckon ...

    Piped them through one of them --->

    The Zuckerbeast can kiss my arse, bitch.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    newsagent selling beer is offlicense ?

    Why does it seem that such things are allowed on the net :)

    If I had a shop called jo's news agent and then started selling beer would I still have the rights to call myself a newsagent?

    for a start I would loose consumers since they comin in looking for the paper and are presented with special brew

    so time to go back to the acme drawing board facebook zucks and has always zucked and will aways continue to zuck away no matter what new spying gizmo they present as a good feature..

  24. Stevie Silver badge


    Why on earth would anyone not a 13 year old girl want this "feature"?

    Prediction: Six months on, "Whoops, we accidentally forgot to tell you about the change to the ToS"


  25. Bottle_Cap

    Surely this has to be the final nail in the fb coffin? I assume if people accept this the camera will be next..

  26. SVV Silver badge

    Seeing as I don't use Facebook

    I can't wait for the first story about someone who's let all their workmates amd family join their network and then leaves their phone in the living room at the same time they're watching some particularly lurid porn film.

    "Staus Update : Jim is currently watching Huge Hooters Vol 2"

    1. Da Weezil

      Re: Seeing as I don't use Facebook

      Oh thats ok, its tame... now if it was "Backdoor Sluts 9".......

  27. ItsNotMe

    Once more with feeling...

    ...If anyone is stupid enough to use any of these lame social networking sites...and put your pathetic life's details on them...then please zip your lips...and deal with the consequences.

  28. PaulR79

    Turned off by default to start

    How long before a future update turns this on by default until someone notices and we have another big, "Sorry it was a bug / mistake / believe us please and we won't do it again" story? I'm betting on about two months.

  29. Gannon (J.) Dick

    So many questions ...

    Does anyone know if they will be logging specific sex acts ?

    Will ex-partners following the action on FB be forced to speculate that somewhere along the line you having atained specific adaquacy might not be as bad at that one as you once were ?

    What's the netiquette ? Do you interuppt current spouses at practice or heap scorn on their pathetic attempts to suprise you with a better spousal user experience ? Being mean can cause serious long lasting damage to a marriage ...

  30. Sureo

    Tinfoil hat time

    Tape over your microphone as well as your camera lens.

  31. Frank N. Stein

    I have no interest in doing any sort of automated "back ground sharing" of anything I'm listening to, watching on TV, or discussing with anyone. Facebook can get it's ad dollars some other way, where I'm concerned. I will insure that this is turned off, by default in the Facebook app and if they disable the ability to turn this off, I'll just remove the app from my phone. As it is, I rarely use Facebook on my Phone. This nonsense guarantees that I don't user it.

  32. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    I would let them listen to an endless tape with Marvin's autobiography

    That should do it.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How will it know that you are watching the season premier of game of thrones? Does apple get special previews of the audio of these shows to be able to have its phone detect that you are watching a brand new episode not seen by anyone else before?

    1. The Mole

      Yes.The audio identification service facebook are using may also be given access to it as well.

      And what makes you think it hasn't been seen by anybody else before? It may not have been broadcast before (hence it being a premier) but its fairly normal for reviewers to be given pre-screening, as well as rating bodies, internal company executives, quality checkers, advertising placers (to ensure all the legal requirements of advert placement are met etc) etc. It isn't a live event so the audio is available for weeks or months before.

      It will be in the programme producers and broadcasters interest to provide this to facebook as mentions on facebook are likely to encourage friends to remember it is on and tune in/watch the catchup, and is good evidence as to the value of advertising slots. In fact unlike most of the current marketing ideas (getting 'Likes' etc) there may actually be a small amount of benefit to them.

      Of course a big flaw of it is the assumption that the person on facebook in the room is the person watching the TV, I can imagine that 'Peppa Pig' and other childrens programmes may get mentioned as much as real views.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "How will it know that you are watching the season premier of game of thrones? "

      Just be sure to switch off your phone before watching that episode in a region where it's not been released yet. Or where the dialogue or soundtrack is subtly different to identify which region/broadcaster had that version.

      See? It's all good. It an anti-piracy tool. It'll listen to your video and music and match it against your iTunes/Netflix account. case anyone thinks I'm being serious.......or am I? :-)

  34. DougS Silver badge

    Off by default

    Until some future update when they realize that less than 1% of users have voluntarily enabled it and they want to increase the uptake.

  35. Mr Ballstein
    Big Brother

    I have a better idea

    I don't know how difficult it would be to use a a combination of hi frequency audio and mic an create a little sonar and create a rudimentary map of your surrounding. Use it if you like it Big Bro....

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I have a better idea

      I did that in the days of 8-bit home computers and a hacked old ultrasonic burglar alarm sensor mounted on a stepper motor. With the processing power of a modern smart phone and it's positional and orientation sensors I suspect that would be a trivial app.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stepping away from domain name

    Something that started as what it called and branded itself as a concept where people put their faces in a e-book, and the means challenges to achieve total control was not challenging enough, expand I say watch what others are doing and clone it.. its easy once its already done and well so long as simpletons and followers (sheep people) are around which I guess will be for eternity, concepts like this can keep them intune and inline..

    Facial recognition, voice recorder

    I think the next really cool feature would be key logging

    and after that

    keys to your fortunes whilst you get a free face book account employees get to clean out your bank account.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want a CD entitled

    "Brown Noise Concerto"...

    That should keep em occupied.

    Well, the toilets at least!!!!

  38. Rberns

    Who will the record companies sue for illegal public broadcasting?

    Who will pay for the end user bandwidth stolen by transmission of the illegal bandwidth?

    Will a browsing session have to confirm access by FB for each session?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Who will the record companies sue for illegal public broadcasting?"

      According to the article, FB will analyse what music you are listening to then use a streaming service to "broadcast" a short clip to your "friends". I'm sure that that side of it legally sewn up already.

      As for the listening in bit, Google already sorted that little legal kerfuffle out with their email ad insertion/keyword scanning by claiming no human being ever sees the raw data. It's "only" a computer which monitors your data.

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