Hush, Now Facebook Also Will Listen To Your Conversations

A function that picks up ambient sounds used as a tool to monitor conversations.

FACEBOOK listen to the conversations of Americans? For several days if they ask the commentators on the forum Reddit.com after the alarm sounded on the site by a guy from Texas. He spoke with his girlfriend of the need to fumigate her apartment from insects and meanwhile used the Facebook application on his iPhone. After a few minutes the boy who identifies himself as “NewHoustonian” we have seen a banner ad appear “You need a pest?”, Despite never having done research online about insects or pest control. So his attention is focused on the microphone of its iPhone.

The app American Facebook for iOS and Android, in effect, from 2014 a function that uses the phone’s microphone for listening to what is happening in your environment. It takes control of the microphone when you write an update and Facebook would use it – this is the official version – only to recognize songs, TV themes and film that you are listening to or viewing, according to a feature similar to that of the popular app Shazam .

The purpose? Spare us the trouble of manually enter details on the title of the media we hear, automatically adding a link or a video preview, so as to facilitate the sharing of the content (and listening to or buying from our Facebook friends ). “We can not identify conversations: the sounds are only used to find a match with the database and are never kept,” the instructions say to this function. But its product manager, Aryeh Selekman, it was not as clear on the subject:

“Today we can not targettizzare advertising on this post, but it’s something that we thought, and potentially we will in the future,” he said a year ago to Selekman ‘authoritative online publication TechCrunch. What the future has arrived?

Since we do not have any explicit threats in Article 15 of the Constitution, one of the secrecy of communications: the feature in question for now is not expected from the app to Facebook to Italy. Matra personal assistant like Siri voice recognition and objects “conversational” as Echo, Amazon launched by the end of 2014 – that is, the black cylinder that activates voice activated and listens for our verbal requests to provide music, weather and miscellaneous information – our words appear less and less intended to remain “words between us,” she sang as Mina today are quite enormous potential for the world giants of e-commerce.

“The American episode is still waiting for feedback. But there is no doubt that, more generally speaking, in a media company like ours the acoustic dimension has a huge market potential: it is one more tool that allows you to associate with audio data for customized advertising interest, “explains one of the greatest Italian experts on digital privacy, the lawyer Guido Scorza.

“If we think about the immediate future, in the Internet of Things is part certainly an interest in advertising based on the collection of data of this type.

As well as another trend that seems set to grow is to analyze the state of mind, even through voice recording: it is understandable that the value for marketers may have the administration of an advertisement at the very moment in which they are in the mood best suited to that type of suggestion commercial.

” But alarmed, at least to us, is not justified today, “A case like the American can look like a wiretap, although it would be more of a recognition of certain keywords useful to advertise that a hearing comparable to that of humans, and not returning the measures authorized by the judiciary, by us would be prohibited. Unless an explicit request for consent by Facebook and a user’s consent.


But in the case of a recording environment such as this, you would need the consent of all participants in the conversation, not only the user who holds the smartphone, “says Scorza

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