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Facebook introduces new way to share what you're watching or listening to

Facebook is a popular social media platform boasting 1.23 billion users.
Facebook is a popular social media platform boasting 1.23 billion users.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Facebook announced Wednesday that it will be rolling out a "new, optional way" to let friends know what music, TV show, or movie you're currently enjoying.

If you choose to update your Facebook status on your phone, you will now see an audio icon that, if activated, will use your phone's microphone to identify whatever it is that you're listening to or watching. It works in a way similar to music identification apps like SoundHound and Shazam, which listen to excerpts of songs and then show information like song title, artist, release date, and lyrics. However, this feature is considerably more social in nature, as it emphasizes the sharing aspect as opposed to the identification feature.

According to Facebook, this News Feed feature can identify the song or show that you're watching and, if you choose to share, will add this information onto your status update. If you're sharing music, Facebook will provide a short excerpt of that song for your friends to listen to. If you're sharing a television show, the news feed update will identify the episode and the season that you're watching.

This may be useful for Facebook users who are catching up on a popular television show who'd like to avoid spoilers when posting an update about the show. The feature will show your Facebook friends which episode you're on so that they know not to ruin any upcoming surprises in their comments.

Privacy may be an issue for some people as this feature begins to be available for all users. However, Facebook addressed this issue in their press release by pointing out that, like other posts, you can choose who sees these new updates. In addition, the feature does not store any sound and only records when you have the option activated on your phone.

For now, the new feature will only be available on iOS and Android in the US, and it is expected to be available to all eligible users within the next month. A more detailed tutorial for using this tool is available here.