Yes, not content with destroying large chunks of Internet culture and, albeit accidentally, contributing in the decline of our young people to actually converse on any meaningful level Facebook is trying to wriggle deeper into your life. Now there's a surprise. The humongously, dominant, and most successful web presence ever has now grown bored of charing you money to reach the people on your friends list, grown bored of hoarding your personal information as a dragon hoardes gold, grown 'OMG you cannot believe just how bored I am' bored of noting every damn thing you do on the Internet only to vomit out a vaguely related advertisment next time you log in. So bored are they that they've decided they want to live with you and know even more about you. Yes folks, Facebook is moving into your house with you and it's listening.
The net's been lit up today with news on Facebook's new addition to its cumbersome app, the ability to listen. Just in case you've missed the media frenzy I don't mean listen in the way your smartphone listens to voice commands I mean really listen. The app claims it will listen out for music and TV theme tunes and then add that to your news feed (opt in at launch, of course). Sounds a little creepy but you could live with that, right? But how does it know when to stop listening? Not only that but Facebook say that they, being good chaps and everything, will store the data they gather this way.
I can't think of anyone who wouldn't want their every conversation stored by a company which has famously had a rather cavalier approach to the monetisation of personal information. Can you? Who wouldn't want to have a discussion with the wife, perhaps a feisty one, only to log into FB later on in the day to discover adverts for marriage guidance and divorce lawyers (or knowing Facebook's algorithms it would be marriage guidance, divorce lawyers, and Jetski rental)? I just can't for the life of me see a positive in this apart from the value added to the information they already hold on you.
Now, I know that as a company they can pretty much do as they wish and we could all just vote with our feet but in all honesty with the size and power they have attained surely there has to be some measure of responsibility here? I could make sure all my apps are disabled and my phone battery removed, I could leave Facebook, and I could cover my windows in tinfoil to stop the government mind rays from getting to me but I really shouldn't have to. There should be a point, some point, where a person within a corporation would stop and wonder "should we really be doing this? Aren't there better ways of generating profits for our shareholders?". Of course that won't happen, we're just dollar signs to these guys and with their sheer market dominance nobody is really going anywhere.
Do you know what the worst thing is about all of this? I'll still use the damn service (like most of you guys) and Facebook will be listening closely when I do so I anticipate a barrage of anti flatulence adverts, adverts regarding tourettes, and most like an advert advising how I could book a mountain climbing holiday for fourteen in Afghanistan whether I ever mention such a thing or not. Bah.