Facebook Microphone Update Draws Mixed Reactions On Twitter, Raising Privacy Concerns And Skepticism

Facebook Smartphone
A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this file photo illustration taken May 2, 2013. Reuters/Dado Ruvic

Facebook’s new listening feature is drawing decidedly alarmed reactions from users on Twitter, raising privacy concerns and skepticism.

On Thursday, International Business Times reported that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) will use a coming Android and iOS app update to collect data captured by users' smartphone’s microphones. It captures sounds in the user's environment -- songs, movies or television shows, but also potentially conversations -- based on what it hears. Once the sound is ID'd, users have the option to share it as a visual component of their posts.

Late Thursday and early Friday, Facebook users and journalists (including Barton Gellman of the Washington Post, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on NSA surveillance) took to Twitter to express their outrage, many echoing the same sentiment:

 

 

 

 

Though the pervasive social network company assured users that “no sound is stored” by the new feature, it conceded that “the data is saved, but all data is anonymized and aggregated.” Facebook declined to comment to IBT on how it planned to use the data once it’s gleaned. 

At this time, the Facebook microphone feature is said to be opt-in, which allows users the option to decide whether or not to allow Facebook access to the microphone of their device. But until users find out more, they're largely skeptical. 

 

 

 

 

Do you plan on deleting the Facebook app once the company issues the update allowing them to access your smartphone’s microphone? Vote below. And if you have more to say, be sure to sound off in the comments section below.

Join the Discussion