September 28, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Facebook Says It Doesn’t Track Music Behavior When User Disconnects

Facebook confirmed to Evolver.fm that disconnecting a music service from Facebook really does mean that Facebook ceases to see your listening activity.

Clearly, people are nervous about the new Facebook.

We, too, are concerned that it represents a big step in the privatization of the internet, which is a public good that people don’t seem to want to use in its unmediated form.

Who wants to run their own web and email servers these days, or write the HTML code for their own blogs? We don’t have to worry about that stuff anymore, because all sorts of companies will take care of it — often for free.

Maybe that should make us worry more. Does anything ever truly come for free? Due to our preference for convenience over privacy, many of our photos, shared emotions, observations, and so on belong to massive companies like Google and Facebook, for them to analyze to create sophisticated profiles of our predilections for sale to marketers.

Even if you don’t care about what some call the evils of marketing, there’s always the scarier possibility of authoritarian regimes, thieves, hackers, and other unsavory types accessing detailed information about you and using it for something far more sinister than trying to sell you tooth whitener or the opportunity to earn thousands working from home. Don’t laugh — even something as innocent-seeming as one’s listening habits could be used to determine when you leave the office and when you arrive home.

However, Facebook made it clear to Evolver.fm that one thing we don’t need to be worried about is that Spotify, MOG, and other music services are sharing our musical activity with Facebook when we’re logged out, as some had suspected they were doing (possibly because Facebook’s Like buttons on the web were shown to be sending data to Facebook even when users were logged out, which it says it deleted almost immediately, and which Facebook now says it has fixed).

“When a person disconnects Facebook from Spotify or any other music service integrated with Facebook, Facebook will not receive any data related to their listening activity,” explained Facebook spokeswoman Malorie Lucich.

Spotify backs up Facebook’s assertion.

“All data sharing to FB stops when you uncheck the option in the Preferences menu,” said a Spotify spokeswoman who preferred to be identified simply as “Spotify.”

So, there you have it: If you don’t want Facebook or your Facebook friends to know what you’re listening to, for whatever reason, disconnecting Facebook from your music service really should do the trick.

Now, you’re free to worry about something else, like whether Amazon’s $200 tablet will finally make finally Android take off as a tablet platform.