Facebook denies using tech that turns on smartphone mics for recording audio

The technology in this patent has not been included in any of Facebook's products.


In an attempt to assuage concerns raised by Facebook's filing for a patent for software that could turn the mics of smartphones on in order to record secret messages in TV ads, the social networking giant has ruled out using the technology in any of its products.

Facebook denies using tech that turns on smartphone mics for recording audio

A man waits for an elevator in front of a Facebook logo. Image: Reuters

The patent had been filed "to prevent aggression from other companies," Facebook Vice President and Deputy General Counsel Allen Lo told Engadget in a statement this week.

The technology in this patent has not been included in any of Facebook's products, "and never will be", Lo said.

According to a report in Metro, the controversial software patent Facebook had applied for consists of a system which lets it quietly tell people's smartphones to capture "ambient audio".

The technology is designed to monitor what people watch on their "broadcasting device" so that the adverts they are shown on Facebook are likely to appeal to them, and give companies an accurate sense of the size of the audience which has viewed their promotion.

While the invasive nature of the technology has raised eyebrows for its potential to violate privacy, Facebook said it had no intention of implementing the technology described in the patent.

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