Facebook is now using phones’ in-built microphones as a way to listen to a user’s background audio.
The social media giant has advertised this automatic listening feature as a way that allows users to share the music or TV they’re currently playing.
The feature is activated when a user goes to write a status or create new posts to their timelines.
Facebook will use the audio it hears to offer users the option of adding things like, “listening to The Wiggles” or watching “The Bachelor”.
The United States is the first and only country to currently boast this technology.
The controversy surrounding this latest feature has been amplified after an American communications professor suggested that Facebook might be using a users’ audio for more than just status updates.
Professor Kelli Burns at the University of South Florida spoke to American news outlet WFLA about how the audio feature may be helping serve users with relevant advertising.
The professor tested the theory by discussing how she wanted to go on safari with the audio feature enabled.
“I’m really interested in going on an African safari. I think it’d be wonderful to ride in one of those jeeps,” she said.
The first post to then appear on the professor's newsfeed was allegedly a story about safaris.
Professor Burns told WFLA she thought the tracking ability of the website was going largely unnoticed by its users.
“I don’t think that people realise how much Facebook is tracking every move we’re making online,” she said.
“Anything that you’re doing on your phone, Facebook is watching."
Mark Zuckerberg wants to make sure we are always connected. Post continues after video...
A spokesperson for Facebook told The Independent that Facebook did not use audio as an aid to advertise.
“Facebook does not use microphone audio to inform advertising or News Feed stories in any way," they said.
"Businesses are able to serve relevant ads based on people’s interests and other demographic information, but not through audio collection.”
Disabling the audio feature is relatively simple. Users can restrict Facebook from accessing their microphone by turning it off from their phone's general settings.
On an iPhone, this is achieved by clicking settings > clicking privacy > clicking microphone and then disabling Facebook by sliding from right to left.