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How Facebook Knows What Television Show You’re Watching Right Now

2 minute read

Facebook wants to make it easier for users to share what they’re listening to or watching. The company today announced an update to its mobile app that will allow Facebook to automatically detect what song, movie or TV show a user is listening to or watching. The new feature, which is optional, makes use of the microphones in users’ smartphones to identify the content. Think of it like the music ID app Shazam being incorporated right into Facebook’s interface.

“If you want to share that you’re listening to your favorite Beyoncé track or watching the season premiere of Game of Thrones, you can do it quickly and easily, without typing,” the company said in a release. If users post a song to their timelines using this feature, their friends will be able to hear a 30-second snippet of the track. Posts of TV shows will identify the season and episode of the show.

The new feature could help Facebook attract more conversations about live television events, an area where competitor Twitter excels. The feature will also, of course, give Facebook even more valuable data about the habits and interests of its users. However, the sound data gathered to identify the correct song or TV show won’t be stored by Facebook, the company says.

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