Skip to main content

Facebook announces music and TV tagging service for iOS and Android apps

Facebook has introduced a new feature for its iOS and Android apps which can identify a song you're listening to, or indeed a TV show, to automatically include that information in a status update.

So yes, this is sort of like Shazam hits the social network, but with a broader remit that covers not just music, but TV programmes and films.

It works like this: As you're composing a status update, providing you've enabled this audio recognition feature, it will automatically use your phone's mic to pick up and attempt to identify any music or TV sound playing in the background. It'll then highlight anything it successfully identifies, and you can easily add the info that you're "watching Game of Thrones" or "listening to Half Man Half Biscuit" to that post.

Any friend seeing your highlighted tune will be offered a thirty second preview of the song. With TV programmes, Facebook also noted that the season and episode of a show would be highlighted to help those who haven't yet seen that episode avoid any spoilers which might crop up in the post.

Facebook was, naturally, careful to make clarifications on some obvious privacy issues here. The feature only functions if you choose to turn it on, you have a choice whether to add the details to a post if it is on, and no sounds are recorded and stored.

The app also isn't capable of identifying background conversations – i.e. listening in on your real-life chatting – Facebook says it only attempts to identify music and TV noise. Clearly, though, it's another piece of the Facebook puzzle which will irk privacy activists.

And it's yet another avenue by which Facebook can collect more data on its user base, in terms of what they're watching and listening to, which all goes towards better targeting ads. Facebook has also recently rolled out an 'ask' button (opens in new tab), which again prompts for more data from users. More data, more money.

The new feature, which isn't named yet, is set to roll out in the US on Android and iOS in the coming weeks. Facebook didn't mention when it would arrive in the UK.

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.